Terry Nelson

It is an honour to be featured amongst the many talented Fernie artists who have graced this column.

Art is expressed through shades of individualism mixed with the spectrum of infinity, so really has no restrictive boundaries. Writing as an art form takes a lot of effort. Rolling off the edge of your mind, thoughts are difficult to correlate into something intelligible. This constructive act of composition can be most gratifying when it all comes together.

As well as my adventure documentations, I also write a lot of poetry in my journals. These are usually expressions of deep connection to and reverence for nature. I sometimes wake in the night to record a thought that comes to me in a dream. My journal entries are usually written quickly as thoughts flow, with a few changes until it gets to where it feels satisfactorily pleasing. 

Going from journal writing to creating a published guide book has been a big leap and very challenging to say the least. Recent time spent extensively scouring technical scientific reports for snippets of old-growth forest related information, and subsequent work with my editor on the new book has helped with the grammar and writing structure of my compositions.

Considering myself a photographer foremost, the small details captured in images are really what provide the backdrop to my writing. Adjectives to describe what I see, how I feel, and the sensations can be difficult to assign properly. I find this most challenging. With the recent book promotion and public speaking engagements, the challenges just keep showing up around every tree.

Both of my publications, Fernie Area Hiking Trails and Natural Plant Compendium, and more recently, Big Trees of the Inland Temperate Forests of British Columbia have been nurtured out of the appreciation for the natural world that surrounds us. I know they are long, full mouthful titles, as I am reminded of every time I have to write them, which is a lot, but these are big topics, and need these As for now, I am trying to just keep my mind from getting too scrambled while I deal with my new job as the distribution and marketing manager of my new book. But as I have collected and continue to collect more than  enough data for a Big Trees Volume II, or even Big Trees of Alberta, or Big Trees of Vancouver Island, or how about Big Trees of the Lizard Range, you never know what might pop up.

The associations and friendships I have made on the “Big Tree” project have been most valued and gratifying. Everyone from scientists, environmentalists, grandmothers, logging truck drivers, and the many persons in the big tree seeking community have all provided information and support that guide my explorations into some of the remote off-trail locations, or just to roadside trails through old-growth forests. These encounters are cherished, with reciprocal responses evolving over time, which complete this circle of a good life shared.

The explorative outings all around British Columbia have been and remain a labour of love. Not only for the forests, but also for the people that I have met along the way. These encounters have shaped my perspectives and solidified my understanding of the importance to preserve and protect our natural environment. All of these experiences support my ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the important role that we all play in ensuring that the old growth forests of today remain intact for future generations to enjoy and ultimately benefit from. After all, we are all in this together.

Terry’s books, Fernie Area Hiking Trails and Natural Plant Compendium and Big Trees of the Inland Temperate Forests of British Columbia are both available locally at Polar Peek Books, at local independent bookstores throughout the province, as well as online at bigtreesbc.com