Stop and smell the roses … oh, wait

By Kristin Smith-Ely

When I first moved to San Diego at the end of 2017, I got a kick out of seeing my new neighbors bundled up in winter coats once the temperature dropped below 60.

I used to live in Cleveland, mind you, so I don’t think I need to explain why I found it funny. Meanwhile, here I was, sporting short sleeves and sandals without so much as a goose bump. Leaving my house, I’d chirp, “What a nice day it is,” to the first person I’d pass. Sometimes I’d get some strange looks, and I’d say to myself, “Silly me — it’s a nice day every day here.” Or so I thought.

Before the winter of 2018-2019, I could count on one hand the number of times it had rained here since I moved. As of mid- March, I’ve lost count. Temperatures have dipped down into the 30s, and people have stayed home “because the weather is bad.”

But I have to admit, the gloom of rain and cold temperatures day in and day out got the best of me this winter. I found myself a bit down in the dumps. I had actually let the bad weather — albeit “bad” only on a relative scale — get me down. How did I, a tough Midwesterner let this happen?

So at the first sign of sun, I headed for the nearest park. Those couple of hours spent outdoors were exactly what the doctor ordered. I immediately felt so much better — and happier. It got me thinking about our industry and how lucky many of you are to work outdoors.

Instead of sitting behind a desk all day, you get to work with plants, make yards look pristine and create landscapes. Who wouldn’t choose that over cubicle walls, conference calls and responding to emails all day?

While the rest of the world has to be reminded to stop and smell the roses, you’re already doing it. I haven’t read any studies on the mental health of people in the landscape industry, but I have to think taking in the fresh air and absorbing the sunshine surrounded by the beauty of plants all day long does a lot for one’s well-being.

I sure do appreciate the results of your efforts when I see my lush green lawn or when I walk around Balboa Park and see all the colorful blooms. I get a smile on my face as I ask the passersby, “Isn’t it a beautiful day out?” For me, that will never get old.