Seasonal industries undoubtedly carry pressures all their own. Just ask those retailers whose businesses end the year in the black only if they perform well on a single Friday in late November.
This weekend, with July nearly in the books, landscapers are in the heart of their busiest time. Enough of it has passed for most to have a pretty good idea of how the year will play out financially, but enough is left to regain at least some lost ground.
In any case, landscapers will be sprinting toward the finish of the growing season, selling and prepping for fall services along the way.
Maybe these are the times it pays to take a deep breath.
The untimely death last week of North Carolina landscape architect Ed Lastein, a much-beloved member of the tiny Village of Flat Rock, is a reminder of the importance of doing so.
But, not just because of the physical risks of stress – Lastein was, by all accounts, an extraordinarily happy, fit and active 59-year-old whose tragic death resulted from a brain aneurysm – but because life is too short to forget what’s most important, even during the busy season.
Lastein and his wife of 33 years, Sandy, who is also a landscape architect, raised two sons and a daughter, and some of Lastein’s happiest times in the past year were spent playing with his first grandchild, a little girl born to his daughter and son-in-law 13 months ago. All of them were with him when he died at an area hospital on July 21.
In addition to family’s coming first, the story about Ed Lastein points to another truth worth remembering, especially during the nonstop, make-it-or-break-it days: Integrity is everything.
Lastein’s family no doubt has taken comfort in hearing the people of Flat Rock talk during the past week about his honesty, kindness and exceptional competence. Examples of all those traits live on in the village, from the brick sidewalks to the Village Hall’s landscaping, and most of all the community’s park – including a great deal of work performed on a volunteer basis.
He was obviously a man who kept his priorities straight. With August knocking at the door, his example is worth contemplating.
David Rountree is the editor of Total Landscape Care.