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Letter from Publisher

Headshot of publisher Peggy Malecki

Peggy Malecki

When I was growing up, May was a busy month for activities of all varieties. Now, it seems that while the busyness has continued, my wonder in the natural beauty of this lovely month has grown with each passing year.

My sport through high school was figure skating, and our local rink held its Spring Ice Show at the end of May. Evening and weekend rehearsals, costume sewing and excitement about the show filled the month. My schedule was also filled with homework and projects, afterschool clubs, test prep and the anticipation of summer vacation. Outside, it was bike-riding season, and by high school (no license until late in senior year) my red Montgomery Ward 10-speed with the skinny tires and drop handlebars got me pretty much everywhere.

May started our home gardening season, and my mom was busy with flats of annuals for our city yard. She’d get out the little green bench my grandfather had crafted years ago, the trowel, a bucket of water and a cup. Then we’d move down the sidewalk along the fence where she’d dig the planting hole, I’d add water, she’d plant the seedling and I’d water it in. My folks would plant the tomatoes, peppers and lettuce in the garden by the garage a little later in May, and also help my dad’s mother with her city garden and my mom’s parents with their Antioch veggie garden.

May is the busiest month for colorful, migrating birds in the Midwest. An avid, lifetime birdwatcher, my mom always had her binocs and bird books at the ready. Longtime readers may recall me mentioning once that she wrote the principal a note to please excuse my being late to grade school because we were watching a migrating Scarlet Tanager in a tree. I kid you not, and it was accepted. I still have her Nikon binoculars and well-worn field guides—along with my own birding books and phone apps (Merlin Bird ID is a personal fav).

This month in Natural Awakenings Chicago, we’re celebrating Women’s Wellness Month, with a focus on how stress and anxiety can affect health, and lifestyle adaptations to better thrive in our complex, busy world. In our main feature, Linda Sechrist interviews current thought leaders in women’s health for tips and lifestyle approaches to better manage stress and increase resiliency. Natural Awakenings and KnoWEwell have teamed with these practitioners for an online series of live webinars in which they’ll take a deep dive into stress management techniques. To join in the conversation, please check the promo on page 7. I also encourage you to learn more about some of our local women’s health leaders in this month’s Women Business Owners sections, scattered throughout this issue.

If you’d like to get started gardening and bird watching, writer Sheryl DeVore covers both topics as she explores why gardening is good for our health, and then talks with local birding experts on the best ways for novice and experienced birders to catch the wonder of spring migration season. If you’d prefer to get away from the Chicago area for a relaxing weekend north of the border, Lisa Kivirist takes us on a road trip to Elkhart Lake and the Kettle Moraine region of Wisconsin. Of course, we feature plenty of nutritious and delicious recipes to help balance our hormones and reduce diet-related inflammatory stress responses.

As always, I encourage you to please step outside each day and experience this month with all of your senses. Despite the hectic pace of the month, try to consciously stop to smell the flowers, wrap yourself in early morning birdsong as it fills the air, enjoy a spring rain, plant a container garden, sample spring vegetables fresh from a farmers market or CSA and share your seasonal joy and awe with others.

Happy Spring! Happy Mother’s Day!