Nature's Gifts

Welcome to the last full month of summer fun that includes taking a walk on the wild side with April Thompson’s guide to “Wild and Wonderful: Foraging for Foodies.”

The bird feeder only a few steps outside my front door is more than an opportunity to provide for nature’s little furry and feathered creations. Their way of “being” in my own little suburban oasis has become one of my favorite things. Watching the wide variety of birds, wild rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks is meditative and what I take a few moments daily to sit and enjoy. I love watching how they move about and among each other peacefully and playfully. The chipmunks are the most vocal. From outside my doorsill they literally yell at me, letting me know when the feeder is empty.

This year I decided to see what would come of the sprouts that were growing under and around the feeder. Mother Nature delightfully delivered a surprise supply of bird food in the form of sunflowers, which have attracted a new species to the garden—the American Goldfinch, which entertains me by perching on the outer edge of fully ripened blossoms. The finches pull and toss the parts they don’t want while digging into the center for prized seeds.

Another of nature’s wild gifts that grew randomly was a six-foot-tall common thistle with some three-inch-long spikes and beautiful purple flowers. Considered a weed by some, this spiky, medicinal and edible plant seemed to grow overnight and take over the walkway. I was surprised to learn that its medicinal properties are anti-inflammatory. Fully edible from bud to root, its bonus of being a top nectar-producing plant means that it attracts monarch butterflies that I’m looking forward to watching when they arrive.

I’m deeply grateful to be more aware and soaking in the simple joys and pleasures that I missed earlier in life and realizing that appreciating Nature is a necessity just like breathing. It magically soothes and relaxes my mind and body as I hope it does for yours as you walk on the wild side of summer fun.

I’m also grateful to be sharing in the success of my friend, our Natural Awakenings senior staff writer, Linda Sechrist, whose road trip from Florida to Maine in 2017 resulted in a most enjoyable visit with me. Linda’s collaboration in the newly released book, All You Need is Love: Th e Importance of Transcending Spiritual Clichés and Living Their Deeper Wisdom, helped it to achieve bestselling success. In Linda’s essay, she cites her 15-year career and interviewing luminaries for her Natural Awakenings feature stories as the path that led to an inevitable awakening. Along with other authors, she shines a light on many popular spiritual myths that are taught in today’s spiritual circles.

Wishes for a peaceful and enjoyable rest of summer to all!


Maisie Raftery, Publisher

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