Despite the heat and the haze, autumn is just around the corner and the migration of post-secondary students is beginning.
My internship at The Interior News has come to an end, and the time is coming for me to pack my belongings into my little car and watch the Hudson Bay Mountain disappear in the rear-view mirror once again.
The experience is at once familiar and very different.
I hope it isn’t too dramatic to say I’ll be leaving feeling like a different person than when I returned (although maybe I like this person a little better).
It’s been all at once a wonderful, strange, and terrible summer.
I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to work here; I’m thankful for my patient supervisors and good-humoured co-workers, for the people who have given me room to make mistakes and those who have held me accountable for errors.
I’ve had no experience prior to this: I’m not a journalist, or even a journalism student.
My major is in English and I specialize in over-analyzing text from three centuries ago, not documenting things in real-time.
The road to this point has been bumpy one, trying to learn a craft that necessitates accuracy and focus in the midst of a tumultuous life outside of the office.
Sometimes change is a conscious effort, and sometimes adaptation is a forced affair.
Loss has come to visit me in his various forms, an uninvited guest who dropped in at the oddest times in varying states of gravity and urgency.
I’ve tripped over spiritual and mental hurdles and been forced to dress my wounds on the go.
I’ve spent the season in varying states of stress, panic, mourning, irritation, and melancholy – sometimes that would all be encompassed in an afternoon.
Adaptation is, I suppose, the key word.Giving into despair is a tempting course of action, and one I’ve dabbled in more often than not, but that’s what I mean when I say it’s been wonderful and strange alongside the terribleness.
I found over time that I started laughing and walking on in the face of misfortunes where I once would have shut down and retreated to recharge.
Life has always had its obstacles for everyone, but it’s also incredibly ridiculous. Energy is a precious commodity and anguish burns a lot of it; I’ve learned to take a step back and evaluate what’s worth mine.
Here’s a message that I’ll leave you with specifically, people of the Bulkley Valley: you’re incredibly lucky.
When you’re here all the time, I think it’s easy for you to forget just how much.
You live in a beautiful place bursting with life, a hub of art, business, diversity, athleticism, ingenuity, nature, and community.
The people that live here are passionate, and the passion is infectious.
Whenever I come back to Smithers and see that familiar snow-tipped mountain peak and criss-cross of ski slopes, I’m reminded of that. It’s something that’s hard to find anywhere else.
Anger and mistrust can spread fast, but so can the kind of community you’ve shown you’re capable of, both in good times and bad.
I mentioned when I introduced myself that I was interested in true crime, so I’ll bring it full circle and sum up my sentiments in the words of the late, great crime writer Michelle McNamara: “It’s chaos. Be kind.”
So long, Bulkley Valley, and I’ll see you soon.