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Visit me in the Sunshine State in the cold months

of January, February and March


Most of my life has been spent in the Midwest and New England where I welcomed snow and the cold and dark days of winter. Time was spent at home with family and friends, at my desk, in bed, or seated near a window where I could feel the warmth of the sun and watch the long shadows appear as that sun disappeared in the late afternoon. Now, I spend the winters in Florida where I take evening walks wearing shorts and sometimes a light jacket. Northern winters may have once been my guide but retirement now invites me to do similar things, to experience restful energy and give myself permission to turn inward or stay grounded in the present and notice the calls of nature in the tropical landscape.

What were the invitations and calls of nature and from the landscape to the people who first lived in Florida’s watery wilderness areas 10,000-12,000 years ago, to the Miami, Oconi, Mikasuki, Eufoula, Creec, and Seminole? Once submerged beneath the ocean, coral, shellfish and fish skeletons piled up and created a layer of limestone hundreds (in some places thousands) of feet thick. As the Appalachian Mountains eroded, sand and clay were deposited over that limestone layer. Much of the quartz sand covering the state today came from the rocks of that mountain chain. Today, Florida’s ecosystem is made up primarily of land, the Everglades, and Florida Bay.

For the past two winters, I take daily walks and notice what is growing and living around me. I enjoy greeting the old palm and banyan trees holding court in the local parks and residential areas. There is something wild and resilient about the ways the more-than-human world grows and lives in this area. The sun shines most days, and it responds with enthusiasm.


I am in the Northeast during the months of 

April, May, October, November, and December


Now a seasonal resident of a state offering coastlands, mountains, rivers and lakes. I delight in what spring and fall offer in Connecticut. I am careful to heed the erratic weather conditions of early spring and go slowly while emerging from my interior stillness and into the surges of longer days filled with colors and blossoms all around me.


The Native Americans, who have had a presence in this area for at least 10,000 years, were also seasonal residents who arrived with warmer weather and returned annually. They fished, gathered shellfish, trapped small animals, and foraged for edible plants. Their time was also spent chipping arrowheads from local stone and making white and blue wampum beads from large clam shells. In late fall, they headed inland to their winter quarters in bark lodges that were often in sheltered ravines and near fast-running streams that did not freeze. They lived on ground dried corn from their summer crop and hunted animals for meat. Animal skins were used to make coverings for the body and portable housing for the warm months.


Living in Connecticut for over 30 years, I have hiked a part of the Appalachian Trail in the northeast corner of the state, visited the beaches along Long Island Sound, and walked in numerous wooded areas of state and local parks. My town of Darien recently bought a local island featuring 1-1/2 miles of coastline in an environmentally sensitive cove on the Sound. Conservation of this land is a top priority, and it will continue to provide rest stops for the migrating birds and bees and a habitat for the local wildlife.


For the summer and early fall, June, July, August and September, 

I'm enjoying lake life in the Hoosier State


The northern part of Indiana is where I spend the season of the sun—summer. I’m eager to get to my family’s lake house, spend time with family and friends, hit the farmers markets and enjoy long days outdoors. This is the season to spend time with nature—when the rivers and lakes say “swim,” the sunsets say “watch” and the edible bounty says “eat.” Everyone is on the move, exploring and eating well. This part of the state is blessed with ample and protected land that encourages and supports native prairies, forest eco-systems and the healthy management of its interconnected waterways such as rivers, creeks and lakes. These are called watersheds and feed into Lake Michigan and other larger lakes and rivers that drain into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

The Miami and Potawatomi people who lived in this area generations ago would have experienced the lakes and streams within a landscape and ecosystem that supported a rich diversity of plants and animals. When European settlers came in the 1800s, the native people, plants and animals were displaced or eliminated so crops, fruit and livestock could be raised. Although much damage was done, especially by non-native plant species, a lot of work from state and local levels is happening to restore and protect the land in this area of the state. One of my favorite places to spend time with nature is at Pine Knob State Park where there are 229 acres of savanna, fen, marsh, woodlands and two miles of trails. For the past 10 years, work has been done to restore the land and return native plants to the area.

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