I have never been much of a writer. In fact, through my youth, I was downright dreadful. Math came easily, physics too, but never writing. My mother can tell you stories of sitting at the kitchen table fighting with me on a weekly basis for hours in order to complete my spelling assignments. Her convincing my teachers to make me redo poor assignments. It’s a problem I struggle with to this day. It routinely crops up as feedback at work, that I continue to need to work on technical writing, my emails, etc. In fact, my writing, both in the literary sense, and my handwriting were diagnosed as learning disabilities.

I never sought out to write this column. My friend Ahmed Mumeni, who wrote and took pictures in this space previously, connected me with the editor, Krista, to support my photography - a field in which he was somewhat of a mentor to me. Krista took that suggestion and offered this column as well. I thought about it quite a lot and quite hard. Eventually, I figured that I would give it a go. I figured that after a column or two, and a little ribbing from colleagues, I would be invited to stop writing, but hopefully keep taking pictures. It seemed to be a small risk. As well as an opportunity to work on a weakness. So, I got on with it.

I did, in fact, hear from my colleagues and friends on my writing, but I couldn’t have been more wrong on the tone and spirit of what I heard. I have been given strong endorsements and encouragement from people I respect, and whose writing I respect, some of who make their careers, non-trivially on their ability to write. Though upon receiving a copy of the first issue, my mother did say she thought “Hell must have frozen over.”

Some of the feedback has been hilarious, such as the colleague who told me, last month, “We followed a ‘game trail’ once – only it turned out to lead to someone’s ‘wild herb garden’.” To the incredibly specific instruction to read up on Lord Byron, specially Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage verse CLXXVIII in Canto the Fourth, if not the whole book.

I trust that you will forgive me waxing on about myself, a dull subject if ever there was one, but there is a method to it. This is the Community Issue of the Fernie Fix and I never felt such a sense of support and fraternity. This is Fernie. We provide support to one another; we help one another; we celebrate each other’s successes and lend aid in times of trouble.

I promise next month to return to the topic of the outdoors. Also, Byron’s poem is on its way from Amazon, and I think I shall make a point of reading it on a sunny day, under a tree.