Gonna be some changes, changes made

Well, I’ve got big news to announce! I’ve resigned from my position as the editor of the Hungry Horse News. I’m planning to go back to school this fall at Montana State University in Bozeman, enrolled in their sustainable food systems program. I’m just so excited! But it’s bittersweet, too, because I’m really going to miss the people and places that I’ve gotten to know in the past year. I think my newspaper column for the week sums it up:

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly news travels in a small town.

Got a phone call last night from a friend who said she heard from someone while picking up her mail at the post office that I’ve turned in my resignation.

Received a few e-mails this morning to that effect, too, even though I’ve told few people of my decision.

So it’s true and I’ll come out with it to the public: My last day as editor of the Hungry Horse News is April 19. So including this newspaper that you hold in your hands, just four more newspapers.

For the past year, I’ve measured my life in newspaper deadlines, interviews and hikes in Glacier National Park. It’s been a wonderful, crazy, chaotic, stressful, fabulous year.

When I started this job, a number of people commented to me that this newspaper goes through editors like people change their underwear (well, I certainly hope you change your underwear more often than once a year!). Call it the nature of the business, this nutty thing called journalism. Journalists are, by their nature, always hungering after the next scoop, the next story, the next adventure.

But it’s not to another journalism job that I go. After some months of soul searching, I’ve decided to return to school in an entirely different field. It’s been a personal evolution that I’m proud to say was not lightly nor easily reached.

During my college years, I became increasingly interested in organic food and eating and living a sustainable, earth-friendly life. Call me a hippie, but it’s a personal conviction not unlike what Montanans feel for their countryside. Shouldn’t we preserve this place for the generations to follow? Shouldn’t we grow food and feed our bodies in healthy ways that ensure our children and our grandchildren can enjoy this beautiful area?

After battling a month-long illness two years ago, I made the switch to an almost completely organic way of eating. And though the prescription drugs hadn’t worked, nor had the 12 hours of sleep every night, changing the way I ate did.

Living in Flathead Valley for nearly two years, I’ve had the opportunity to write stories about and volunteer on local farms and CSAs like Terrapin Farm in Whitefish and Raven Ridge Farm in Kalispell. And you know that feeling of being so utterly, unapologetically alive that you get when standing on the summit of Huckleberry Mountain or while listening to the fresh powder swish beneath your skis on Big Mountain? That’s how I feel getting dirt under my fingernails while depositing garlic into the earth for its long winter sleep or when I’m bottle-feeding a calf at my husband’s parents’ ranch in Nebraska.

So I’m going to stop reading about the organic, back-to-the-earth life and start really living it. I’ve enrolled in the Sustainable Food Systems program at Montana State University in Bozeman, which has the major fringe benefit of being three hours closer to my husband (who lives and studies in Butte) than I am now (what a concept to actually live with or near one’s husband!). I’m headed to Butte for the summer, excited to cultivate the garden in the backyard of our apartment there.

Let me say, however, that this was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made. This town has embraced me in a way that I will never forget. I’ve never felt like an outsider here; I’ve been included from day one. I’ve made friendships that I know will last, even separated by distance and destiny. I’ve learned so much about this area, about Glacier National Park and about myself in the past year. I feel like a completely different person from when I started this job on March 15, 2010.

I’ve made mistakes at this job, but I’ve also written stories and taken photographs that I’m very proud of. I’ve poured myself into this job for the past year and (I hope) added a good chapter to the life of the Hungry Horse News as its first female editor.

But this isn’t the last time you’ll see me. I’ll be just five hours away in Bozeman and I plan to stop back in Columbia Falls and the Canyon often. There’s a lot more exploring I have left to do in Glacier Park, too. I hope you’ll want to keep in touch.

Thanks for the ride, for the memories and the friendships. They’ll be cherished ‘til the end.

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