I am blessed with the good fortune to live near some incredible hiking trails, including a large section of the Appalachian trail. I love the peace and quiet I find while hiking, especially in the fall and winter when the trails are less populated. I find being alone on the trail allows me to better experience the sounds of the wind whistling through the trees, birds chirping and insects buzzing. I can sync my soul with nature and put my mind at ease.
Now with the warming weather, more people are out hiking, so my opportunities for solitude are limited. However, I still enjoy getting outside, and try to hit the trails on weekday mornings when the crowds are manageable. Also, there is a difference between crowds on a trail, and crowds in general. Something aboout being out in nature reduces the stress and annoyance of being around large groups of people. I can’t help but feel good.
I find my fellow hikers, whether novices or experts on a months-long excursion, share this same spirit. While, we may have widely different views, and might even despise one another in a different space, on the trail none of that seems to matter. Here we all share one purpose, the desire to be one with nature.
Spending time in nature and appreciating the beauty of the world around them is an ideal I hope to instill in my kids that will stay with them for years to come.
Tu B’Shevat, which begins at sundown on January 27 and ends at nightfall on January 28, is known widely as the new year of the trees, or Jewish Earth Day. In Israel, this time of year is when the most rain falls, rain that we as Jews pray for, rain that brings fourth new life and new hope. We celebrate by eating new fruits and expressing our appreciation for new life.
Of course, if you live in area of the world that is smack in the middle of the cold winter months, it’s hard to imagine celebrating a holiday about growth and renewal.
Yet, even those of us living in colder climates can find ways to get out into nature and appreciate the beauty of the world.
I was volunteering in my son’s classroom, when his teacher asked me help a few students do some weeding in the school garden. She handed me an example of what to look for, and I thanked her, as I am as far from a “green thumb” as one can get.
My shortcomings in gardening mattered little, as the children themselves schooled me on the finer points of tending to their little plot of various flowers and produce. I thought about how fortunate they were to be part of a educational community that values the importance of learning where our food comes from and teaching future generations to care for and respect the Earth.
The benefits of spending time outdoors working in the soil are evident, and one Chicago-based woman has made it her mission to show the world that anyone can be a gardener — no matter where they live or their level of experience. Researching for this blog has even started to convince me I might have a shot!
Natasha Nicholes, saw the empty plots of land in her Chicago neighborhood as opportunities. From one small, West Pullman community garden plot started in 2016, the We Sow We Grow project was born. Today, Nicholes spreads her enthusiasm about gardening beyond the reaches of Illinois and has indeed launched a movement to make gardeners out of all of us. Continue reading →
Our human bodies are marvels of creation. We are divinely crafted specimens, whose intricate functionality surpasses even the most advanced of machinery. Every part of us moves in beautiful synchronicity to enable us to live out our lives as best as we are able. And flowing through our impressive vessels are hormones, perhaps one of our greatest gifts from G-d.
Hormones? Are we seriously talking about those things which caused our faces to turn into bumpy messes as teens, and turns us into irrational rage machines about three quarters of every month? What’s so great about hormones?
If you stop and think about some of the greatest moments in your life — the moment you first fell in love with your spouse, your wedding day, the birth of your first child — almost every one of them can be attributed to hormones, those strange chemicals in our bodies which make us who we are and influence so many of our decisions. Continue reading →
If you have kids who have slept for at least five straight hours since birth, first, tell me your secret, then stop reading. OK, you don’t have to stop reading, you can laugh along with the rest of us, miserable, tired parents.
I am not sure who passed on the this sleep aversion to our children. I blame my husband for my oldest’s bizarre nightmares and sleep walking episodes. I am probably at fault for our youngest being wide-eyed and ready to party at 3 a.m. Either way, we have long accepted our fate as perpetually drowsy parents. And because, we don’t know of any kids who suck at shut-eye more than our brood, I decided to turn my attention to the animal kingdom. Yes, fellow, exhausted parents, these creatures will make you thank the stars (which you are probably up staring at because your kid is still awake) that you have human children. Continue reading →
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