This summer is starting to feel a little bit like a class reunion. Or a family reunion. Or both. And, while those types of events can be fraught with existential dread, I feel nothing but excitement to see my friends, family, and CNGA members and colleagues again. Maybe it’s more like high school or college homecoming, where everyone is back at school together – classmates, alumni, family and friends, and ready for a new beginning and a new year.
As the world has started to open up, things are still not quite the same. I think most people are trying to be patient with each other, and patient with the businesses we patronize. We all know almost every business is understaffed, especially restaurants. We are just so happy to be out eating in a restaurant again, I think we are all willing to give the overworked waitstaff and cooks some extra time, and not grumble but just take our time and enjoy ourselves.
Every time we have a happy hour with a friend, or a gathering with a group, we are reflecting on how long we were away, and how we couldn’t have this for months. Every time we hug someone, every time we go into a store without a mask, it feels a little strange. We are getting accustomed to “being open” again – both our businesses and ourselves.
And if you are still feeling a bit strange, know that you are not alone. The mental health effects of this isolation will be with us for years to come. Take time for self-care and reflection, and have patience for your family and colleagues to do the same. When we have been mostly isolated for a year, it takes time to dive back into a full social calendar. We have all been through something that we never anticipated having to deal with.
Our CNGA schedule this fall is chock-full of fun events where you can get together with colleagues, and sometimes learn something as well. These opportunities include our ever-popular barbecue series, Plant Walk at the City Park Arboretum, our NEW Buyers Expo, the Annual CHREF Golf Tournament, the Women in Horticulture Luncheon, the Horticulture Leadership Retreat, and MORE! Please check out our Events page on the CNGA website, and put these on your calendar.
Also, remember, we may be asking you for some extra help this year. While most member businesses are doing quite well, CNGA and the green industry were unable to hold our ProGreen Expo in person this year. That meant a significant drop in income for us. We greatly appreciate your membership, which is helping us along – but please consider sponsoring an event this year if you are approached, and support your association. We fought hard to ensure that our businesses remained open in the early days of the lockdown, so please remember us.