Mary Grace Bertulfo

the writing life, filipino culture, & the natural world

Archive for the 'Chicago' Category


Koan # 10. Winter Meadow, A Place to Grieve

Thursday, February 10th, 2011
Chicago, Koan of the Wild, Natural Spirit | No Comments »

For me, the natural world is a place of healing & freedom. It is messy, ever changing, and holds so many spiritual lessons. I run to the woods when I’m sad…I hike through the woods when I’m excited to be alive. Recently, our Lola Mading (Grandmother Mading) crossed-over to the Other Side. She was 94 […]

No Lights but our Own

Saturday, June 19th, 2010
Chicago, New! | No Comments »

The storm brought everyone outside: neighbors checking on each other, comparing notes, tsk-ing, and wondering at the downed trees, the debris-strewn street. I managed to sneak a post yesterday before ComEd shut everything down so they could address live wires and blown transformers. (Photos in yesterday’s post.) ABC News reported that there were 215,000 Chicagoans […]

Chicago Storm – Aftermath

Friday, June 18th, 2010
Chicago, New!, The Digging Stick | No Comments »

At around 4:20 p.m., we ran to our van. A storm was breaking and the crowns of the 50 – 100′ trees in our town began to dance. Branches broke off, leaves flew through the air, and rain drummed the van roof. Streetlights at major intersections had lost power. It takes us 10 minutes to […]

Great Blue Heron, a riverside glimpse

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Chicago, Koan of the Wild | No Comments »

Have you ever noticed the way the Great Blue Heron stands tall when she hunts, head snaking, spindle-legs plunk silently? But when she spots the silver darting fish, she crouches low, a ball of feathers, an arrow focused on one intent —-> B R E A K F A S T ! ~ MGB 6/15/10

Thatcher Meditations – Koans # 7-9

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
Chicago, Koan of the Wild, Natural Spirit | No Comments »

Even though it is winter, even though January has a rep for being bleak and stark in Chicago, there’s still beauty to be experienced. Go out and grab you some organic PEACE! I wrote this Sunday morning at Thatcher. Communing in nature has become one of my spiritual practices : Koan #7 Frozen River Silence […]

“Promise on the Prairie” – Sierra Magazine

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Chicago, New! | No Comments »

Read my latest feature article, “Promise on the Prairie”, at Sierra Magazine online. I cover Chicago Boys and Girls Club teens from La Villita (South Lawndale) and a prairie restoration workday they did in 18F degree weather — that’s right, below freezing. Who says there’s no action in the prairie in wintertime? Enjoy! -MGB

Koan #6: Bare branches

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009
Chicago, Koan of the Wild | No Comments »

It is the long season of ripening. Time to harvest solitude in the bare branches of the trees. Sing wind! The squirrels are plump, making slow scrambles up the maple trees. I walked with my new friend, B., this morning through our town. We spoke of technology and nature while our dogs sniffed poetry in […]

Chicago Summer?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
Chicago | No Comments »

It’s after Labor Day and it really feels like the end of summer here in Chicago — without it ever having felt like a real Chicago summer at all. Here’s what I mean: When I moved here from the Bay Area over ten years ago, it was August. The days were cook-an-egg-on-the-pavement hot, steaming, sticky […]

Koan #5: Ted Stone Morning

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
Chicago, Koan of the Wild | No Comments »

Home, prairie-muck dried onto the seams of my field pants, hiking boots splattered with mud, hair in pleasant disarray. The scent of freedom still clings to me. Just an hour before, by watch-time, by two-legged time, by analog hands or digital face, I stood in a place 14,000 years in-the-making, a glacier’s passing, strewn with […]

Koan # 4: From my Field Journal, 3/7/09

Friday, March 20th, 2009
Chicago | No Comments »

Mabuhay. It’s been a long, good week, very productive — and I’m here again parked in the rain at a bend in the Des Plaines River. The ice on the riverbend is a soft, translucent white. The thawed parts of the riverbend are a flat brown tinged with green, gray on the surface. The bare-limbed […]