“Becoming” December 5th, 2018


“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”

Michelle Obama


I sat down in my office with my laptop yesterday evening, opened MS Word, and began the process of writing the newsletter. After 20 minutes, I did not even need to click on my “word count” tab to assess my progress. Zero ideas, zero words. Needing something to prompt some ideas, I got up and watched a couple episodes of ‘The Last Kingdom” a Netflix series I’ve recently gotten into about Britain in the 9th century when the then un-United Kingdom struggled to defend themselves against Viking invaders. If you like Game of Thrones, you’ll like The Last Kingdom.  Anyway, I woke up refreshed, and as usually happens, ideas came together as I made my morning drive from Albany to Little Prince, about 50 minutes plus a coffee stop.

I’m listening to “Becoming” written by and read by former First Lady Michelle Obama. It’s a beautifully-told story of her life growing up in Chicago, becoming a lawyer, meeting the future President and falling in love. That’s where I am in the story to date. It’s a book about “becoming”, which is something that we are all doing whether we realize it or not. You should definitely read or listen to this book!

We have several state-of-being verbs in the English language, since by all appearances we at least seem to be moving through the fourth dimension, time.  We have the present tense, I am. That’s the “now” of our lives. We also have the past tense, the “I was”, and the future tense, the “I will be”. The idea of “Becoming” is the process we are going through as we move between these states of being, we have a lot of control over who or what we ultimately become, though it’s clear to me, at least for myself that this process of becoming will continue until the day I die.

I’ve never been one to let “life happen to me”. It’s also true for everyone, including myself, that “shit happens”. (Thanks for that Forrest Gump!) When I was in my 20’s, I read the book “The Road Less Travelled”, by M. Scott Peck. A foundational idea in the book is that life is difficult. It’s really up to us though how we respond to these difficulties. In the Queen song “We are the Champions”, Freddy Mercury writes “But it’s been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise, I consider it a challenge before the whole human race, and I ain’t gonna lose!” I think we can all become the person we want to be, but it’s a never-ending process that takes intentional planning and action.

This week has been replete with moments of “shit happening” for me. I’ve mentioned the new greenhouse we’re building in a previous newsletter. It’s a state-of -the-art propagation house with sub-floor heat supplies by 4 miles of hot water circulating in microtubes. The water is heated by a high-efficiency boiler which is connected to a computer processor that regulates it, along with vents, and fans, and cooling pads, and shutters and LED lights. The process of building this greenhouse has sometimes stretched me thin, like butter spread over too much bread. I’m doing most of the work myself, with help from a couple guys on our crew, and Ryan, who’s hands and eyes have help tremendously on this project. Some days we don’t seem to catch a break, and the work is tedious and difficult. New problems keep popping up that don’t have apparent solutions. The phrase “Houston, we have a problem” keeps popping into my mind. I have to keep reminding myself that life is difficult, and “becoming” is all about HOW we face challenges.

On a larger scale, Little Prince is always in a state of “becoming”. We are constantly adding new products and learning new, innovative ways to grow plants more efficiently. The addition of Joan to our office staff has given us a new set of eyes and new insights into becoming better at what we do. I think we do a great job at customer service, but we desire to become better at serving you. We are working on our website this winter, adding hundreds of new photos and descriptions to our plants. I’m hoping that by spring, every plant will have multiple photos showing it both in a pot and in a garden setting, even in each season throughout the year. We want it to become a valuable reference, both for folks on the garden center or landscape design side, and for gardeners in general.

Right now, there are hundreds of varieties of beautiful plants still waiting for a home. Think of them as sad little puppies who, while they live in a wonderful shelter where they get the very best care, need a forever-home to love and plant them!  I know that’s low… but hey, whatever it takes, right?




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