Ladies and gentlemen, Sunday is March 1st. I promise. And any month starting with the letter “M’ is, at this point, a most welcome sight suggesting that Old Man Winter’s days are numbered. He found a delightful vacation spot here in the band between Worcester and Boston and on down to the tip of Cape Cod this season. He’s been devilish in his play, or at least so it seems to us mortals who are, at this point, more interested in celebrating five days of school in a row and a parking space wider than the width of our cars than continuing to frolic with him. He has added strain and stress, put demands on our vitality, kept us from loved ones, made sadness sadder, and cold bones ache. Yet, I have long adored New Englanders for their tenacity at times like these, when our old salted roots urge us out with a measuring stick or into the office only to find colleagues already there with the coffee on. It rings of a heartiness, perseverance, and optimism that there is something to be gained from the simple act of engaging.
This got me thinking, that this kind of engagement actually happens around me every day. While life’s challenges don’t always show themselves as tangibly as eight feet of snow, the magnitude of what we are individually “up against”, even on a good day, is just as grand. Yet we engage.
Homeowners—raising children, running businesses, caring for elderly parents, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, chairing a capital campaign, transitioning to a new position in life, trying to change the world—call us up to engage, inviting us to join them in their optimistic pursuit of beauty, functionality, peacefulness, self expression.
Trades-running small shops, perfecting craft, managing personnel, working around others at the site, holding integrity, writing proposals, feeding their families-say yes when we call, look at a set of plans and try the impossible, align their names with signature properties, because of what they can contribute to the whole.
Design professionals-teaching the next generation, leaving a legacy, chairing an industry board, writing a book, designing their own homes (ten years in the making)—create space to listen and define and create something wonderful and unique for the expression of it and for one more chance to leave a mark in this world.
All of us, leading already busy lives make or get a call, and, like a forecast of two more feet of snow with no snow-blower in the garage, say bring it on. We shovel a path and dig out the car and endure salty windshields with only mere drops of wiper fluid left. We sled for the first time in years and take photos of our children and pets next to snow banks three times their size. We learn to make maple snow and we cut fresh cross country ski tracks. We take an actual snow day because it feels like, for once, the whole world stopped. We guffaw at the craziness of snow-covered windows and childishly wonder what streams we’ll find in our basement come the first thaw.
At FH Perry we open the jobsite, figure out how to park a flatbed by a job where there is barely a street, and continue to make progress. We install something beautiful, we have a breakthrough conversation with a client, we make progress for the next trade coming through, we connect with an elusive neighbor, we get permission on zoning. We focus on what we can gain from engaging. We work to create joy and process and opportunity for all of us. We practice optimism…
Did I mention that Sunday is March 1st?!
My best always,