Observe Thomas Jefferson’s Legacy by Spending Some Time in Nature

The front of a $2 bill showing Thomas Jefferson's portrait.
Since Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, today is an apt occasion to consider his legacy and follow his example.

White boards, cell phones, tablets, and computers are not the only things that assist and enable creativity. So does taking a break, particularly one outdoors!

Activity where we do something without needing to think about it very much actually shifts us into a different state of consciousness. Now there’s a term for this state of mind: “transient hypofrontality.” Long before this term was invented, however, the greatest minds of society had already figured it out.

When Thomas Jefferson wasn’t running the country or visiting France, he was usually working in his yard. When Beethoven wasn’t writing music or playing the piano, he often took walks in nature. When Emily Dickinson wasn’t baking or writing poems, she was often working in the garden or tending potted plants in the greenhouse. When Monet wasn’t painting . . . you get the idea. Read more

The Many Ways Gardening Teaches History and Culture

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an image of the Chicago skyline in the evening with lighted streets and skyscrapers near the coast of Lake Michigan

Plant emblems and associations are everywhere–and often “below the radar.” In fact, it’s only by paying attention that we might realize–even in cities–how many and how pervasive they are. Starting with cities, have you ever eaten scallions? How many people realize their name comes from the Mediterranean city Ashkelon, an ancient metropolis Read more

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