“In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”[) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes”.
In the fall of 2012 I penned my first column as president of the region – a biography of sorts. I wrote, “My first memory of encountering conifers was while hiking the Appalachian Trail with my father when I was 8. While walking through dappled light of oaks and maples we came upon a mysterious dark stand of conifers. A feeling of awe, mystery and fear struck me. At that age, I am sure I could not conjure the word, “majestic”. It was also the unknown into which I stepped when accepting the position, not knowing what to expect. Now as my tenure as president in the region comes to a close, the photo above is symbolic of this time, past and present. These past five years have taken me on a journey with dramatic changes, both in the Society, and even in my personal life. This article marks a liminal space – the place in time or space between the end of one thing and the beginning of another.
I have served under three national presidents and any number of regional board members – if my memory serves correctly, there are all new regional members on the board as well. As mentioned in other columns there is a renewed energy to address the value provided to our membership (surveys), to make changes to bring us up to date (website), and to keep things fresh (the new CQ format), all to the good as I have seen how we can get stuck in our ways.
You will read this a couple of months before our 2017 convention which looks to be one of the best to date. Thank you, Jerry, Elmer, and Suzanne, for tackling convention planning, and taking on a Conifer College – a chance to educate and explore new avenues to engage the membership. This is indeed a group journey.
From a small organization of horticultural professionals, to the current all-encompassing assemblage of hobbyists, collectors, and professionals alike – to the more recent emphasis on education, being more forward facing – social media, and conservation, our scope continues to expand, and transform. I realize change may upset some, but to me the most vital objective is the continued growth and success of the Society. I hope that we soon introduce a new regional president, as we should have someone elected by the summer board meeting. If anyone has interest in sitting in on the board meeting please reach out.
I look forward to entering the stand of trees on the other side of the clearing. Thank you all for allowing me to serve you these past five years.