2020: Celebrating the New Year and Expressing Gratitude … Gloucester-style

New Year’s Day began with a ‘walk of good intentions.’ Blessed with sunshine and mild temperatures on Cape Ann, friends and strangers came together for a walk in Dogtown. We hiked to Whale’s jaw. A piece of the Whale’s jaw boulder broke off in 1989, but Whales Jaw still stands as it has for over ten thousand years. Standing as a reminder of strength, resiliency and endurance, and symbolic of Gloucester’s fishermen and women. There, we celebrated the new year with a guided meditation and sharing good intentions of gratitude, tolerance and peace. 

With Gratitude. Thank you to Jimmy and Laurel for extending their annual New Year’s walk to this community event, to Wendy for her soulful guided meditation, for the all those who came out for the walk and their positive energy, and to Laura, for the beautiful space to gather! One sentiment shared by the the group was the hope that our beloved Dogtown endure throughout the ages, for many new generations to come. We came upon many others celebrating the new year in Dogtown Commons, walking, jogging and biking, enjoying the peace and beauty of nature. 

Appreciating Babson and his reminders of virtue. Babson donated more than 1,100 acres to the city of Gloucester in the 1930s “as a park and watershed.” Carved Babson boulders found throughout Dogtown Common remind us of some of the virtues that are the foundation of good moral being, the fabric of a healthy society. Among my favorites are Industry, Courage, Help Mother, and Kindness

We were reminded how the earth is a living organism. In 1989, scientist Dr. Lovelock said, “The planet’s living organisms act together to regulate the global environment: Life interacts chemically and physically with the air, the waters and the rocks to maintain optimum conditions for itself. The Earth itself appears to behave like a living organism.” German scientist, Peter Wholleben has found that trees communicate with one another, through their elaborate root systems; they speak a sophisticated silent language, communicating complex information via smell, taste, and electrical impulses.” “Forest trees have evolved to live in cooperative, interdependent relationships, maintained by communication and a collective intelligence similar to an insect colony. They depend on a complicated web of relationships, alliances and kinship networks.” “A tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it.”  A metaphor for our human relationships and community.

While meditating in these magical woods, I was ‘gifted’ with the presence of a  pileated woodpecker. I have only seen one once before, and never before in Gloucester. I was mesmerized by it’s persistent knocking, as if telling me to “pay attention, because an opportunity has come knocking.” And, so I did.

By Shenandoah National Park from Virginia – Pileated Woodpecker

‘A Daily Attitude of Gratitude. ‘The next day began with another walk in the woods, this time with my husband. Then a drive around Cape Ann, appreciating the beauty in nature, all around usResearch demonstrates that “residential areas with a higher surrounding of green and blue spaces, and living closer to natural environments contribute to better physical functioning at older ages.”

Low to No-Cost Activities on Cape Ann: Enjoying nature. Whether drawn to woods, gardens or beaches, residents and visitors can walk, hike, bike, drive, take a CATA bus or ferry around Cape Ann. As you follow Route 127A, you will notice the special light, sandy beaches interspersed with rocky granite outcroppings and crashing waves, and scenes of fishing and sailing that have attracted and captivated artists, photographers, poets and writers for centuries.


Surf Scoter. Alan D. Wilson, NaturePicOnline.

Winter Birding on Cape Ann. At Folly’s Cove and along the Back Shore we spotted buffleheads and surf scoters. While we were looking for ducks at Andrew’s point in Rockport, two Audubon vans stopped there, filled with birdwatchers. Last year, snowy owls were a big attraction for birders and photographers, drawing viewers from near and far. The Audubon’s 120th Christmas Bird Count runs through January 5th.


Enjoying the same sunset from different angles. On our drive around Cape Ann, we found many families out enjoying a holiday drive around Cape Ann and the Back Shore, walking on the beach, or taking advantage of the rolling waves at Good Harbor Beach. Beautiful spots for sunrise, sunset and meditation. Meditating outdoors or even with a view of nature, makes meditation easier, with many potential health benefits.

Like life itself, the sky continually changes. Sunrise and sunset on Cape Ann are stunning, with the light reflected on the water and granite rocks. Yesterday, the sunset at Good Harbor and the Back Shore was pastel pink and blue. By the time we got around to Niles Beach, the sky was vibrant red-orange and yellow, reflected in the surf and sand, with the Boston skyline visible on the horizon. Many people were at Niles, gratefully enjoying the peace and calm in the moment of a sunset, the very essence of practicing mindfulness.  


Contact us for information on incorporating gratitude, mindfulness and meditation into daily life, for improved health and happiness.

Happy and blessed to live on Cape Ann with my husband, who enjoys surf skiing and paddle boarding year-round. As I wrote this post, we continued to enjoy nature on Cape Ann well into the evening, with the sound of coyotes howling in the distance and a great-horned owl in a nearby tree, calling to its mate. For Information on Nature Walks, Biking and Hiking on Cape Ann.

Wishing You an Abundance of All That Brings You Yoy in This New Year.  

~ Karen


Karen Pischke BSN, RN, Alumnus CCRN, Nurse Researcher, Integrative Nurse Consultant, Author, Speaker, Photographer. Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Usui Reiki Teacher/Komyo Shihan. Owner/Founder of Dreamtime Wellness LLC. Your Bridge to Health: Promoting Optimal Wellness for Mind, Body and Spirit. Karen is a registered nurse with a background in critical care nursing, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiac risk factor reduction, wellness and integrative healthcare. Incorporating a collaborative, integrative approach, Karen strives to educate, advocate for, and empower you in your healthcare goals. Providing evidence-based integrative healthcare services and self-care tools that are safe as well as effective at improving overall health, happiness and wellbeing. www.DreamtimeWellness.com. 978.283.4258. Email: dreamtimewellness@gmail.com. Find us on Instagram and Facebook

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