Nature’s Gifts

As we emerge from winter, I find myself a little awe struck by the first Spring flowers. Despite knowing full well that it is their turn to appear on the seasonal stage, there is still something magical about their arrival. Seeing those vivid yellows and tender pinks, and catching their sweet scent drifting along a gentle breeze feels like an affirmation. A reminder of belonging. (And for many of us, unfortunately, it can also bring on sneezes! Try Dr. Quinn’s regimen of D-Hist and  XLear nasal spray to help with pollen sensitivity. For more complex cases, a consultation is recommended.)

Nature is generous. Her gifts are numerous and diverse…with something to appeal to everyone. Our earth spins beneath a canopy of stars, with her lush forests, ancient deserts, stoic tundra, colorful rainforests, and oceans full of primal secrets. Within each ecosystem, life proliferates exponentially. And WE are a part of this daily miracle!

We can sometimes lose our sense of awe in the business of day to day living. It becomes easy to see life as ordinary, and to lose our sense of connectedness. The Zen Buddhist concept of shoshin–or “beginner’s mind”–challenges us to see with new sight. To let go of our preconceptions. (We are often reminded of this idea in our yoga classes.)  

There is value in trying to walk through this life with a “beginner’s mind.” And there is a particular richness and depth we experience when we allow ourselves to be fully present within nature.

As we go about our days, filled with inevitable duties and responsibilities, a nature break can offer us grounding…even if it’s just five minutes of breathing clean air, feeling the warmth of the sun on our face, or listening to the birds outside our office doors. To listen to them sing for the hundredth time, as if hearing them for the first time.

There is something sacred to be found in the ordinary. 

Which of nature’s gifts resonates with you most? Do you love strolls on the beach, or perhaps sitting with friends around a campfire? Do you enjoy star gazing? Or maybe hiking through the woods with a four footed friend?

Here is a story about one of nature’s gifts that I found right outside my front door…



I have a confession to make: I still have a Christmas wreath on my front door.

Historically, I have been known to stretch the utility of our balsam door dressing well into February. But it is April, and we are well past any pretense of thrift or even quirkiness. The once gleaming evergreen boughs are now brittle and bereft of all former splendor. 

And yet the wreath remains.

At this point, it HAS to stay…at least for a few more weeks. There is a small, carefully thatched haven in its bosom. Someone has carried twigs and twine and soft wild fur and after much gathering, woven it all into a circular cradle. Its shape is deep and secure, imbued with whispered breath.

The nest holds four tiny, speckled eggs. These belong to a smidge of a bird, her ochre feathers drape as a downy cape over her tangerine tinged body. She is round and bright: a miniature tufted sun.

Her voice is a song. 

I wonder what that would be like. To speak only in beauty. 

I am quiet in her presence. 

She tells the story of something sacred.

I don’t want to miss a word.


-Kathryn Yingst

QFH Front Desk Staff


Ahhh, Spring Allergies?

The grass is turning green, the flowers are starting to bloom, the buds on trees are turning to that spring green we all look forward to seeing…. There’s nothing like spring! Even though you might look forward to spring after a cold New England winter, spring allergies can put a damper on your excitement. The good news is, there are some things you can do to help your body handle the allergens and still enjoy the beauty of spring.


Make yourself and your home more allergy-friendly:

Allergens are part of the dust makeup of your home, so make a clean home a priority. Remove your shoes at the door, vacuum and dust frequently, and wash your sheets and bedding regularly. A good quality air filter from a company such as Austin Air or Dyson can help filter out allergens and other irritants from your indoor air supply. 

Washing your face and hair before bed can help keep your sheets cleaner for longer and keep allergic triggers away from your nose, ears, eyes, and mouth.


Help Your Body clear Congestion:

Try a Neti pot saline rinse- use a ceramic or porcelain pot. Fill the Neti pot with warm, sterile (or previously boiled and cooled) water and dissolve 1/4 tsp non-iodized salt. Run a full Neti pot through each nostril. You can add a few drops of an herbal booster. I like the Neti Salt and Neti Wash Plus by Himalayan Chandra, available on their website or through Amazon. Do this 1-3 times per week during allergy season.

Try a steam inhalation- bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add 5 drops of Eucalyptus, Thyme, or Rosemary essential oils. Make a “tent” over the pot by placing a towel over your head and breathe in through the nose to tolerance. Do as needed for nasal and sinus congestion.

Try hot and cold compresses- place a hot compress on your face over your sinuses and let it sit there until it cools. Then apply a cold compress for 30 seconds. Repeat about 3 times and end with cold.


Teas and nutrients that may support your body during allergy season:

Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) tea- Mix 1 tablespoon herb per 1 cup of water. Steep for 15 minutes and strain. You may choose to drink 1 cup twice per day.

These nutrients may support a healthy inflammatory balance and reduce irritation in the sinuses and respiratory system:

  • Vitamin C – an antioxidant, which may stabilize mast cells’ release of histamine 
  • Quercetin – a flavonoid, which may stabilize mast cells’ release of histamine, and support capillaries and blood vessels 
  • Bromelain – a proteolytic enzyme, which may stabilizes mast cells’ release of histamine, and degrade inflammatory proteins 
  • N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine – an antioxidant, which may stabilize mast cells’ release of histamine, and break down mucus 
  • Stinging nettle leaf – a nutrient-rich botanical which may stabilize mast cells’ release of histamine

Products like Aller-Aid, Aller-C, and D-Hist combine some of these nutrients and may be helpful with allergy symptoms.