The Saratoga Sun -

At the trailhead

 


“No matter what you do, someone always knew you would.”

~ Ami McKay

The first column of the new reporter for the Saratoga Sun has often been one in which they introduce themselves to readers, but what happens when the new reporter is a familiar face or was a semi-regular subject of the former editor’s columns? When a new reporter would join the newspaper and introduce themselves in their first column, I would wonder what I would write if ever given the chance. Now I have the chance and I am struggling with the terror of a blank page, unsure of how to go about introducing myself to a community that is already familiar with who I am.

Many people in the area know me as either Liz and Jerry’s son or Garry’s brother and, to be honest, this is how I have identified myself for a long time as well. One of the hardest things I’ve had to face is figuring out who I am apart from them. I have always viewed my family as being larger than life and often placed myself in their shadows. From time to time I have stepped out on my own and tried to find my place in the community, from running for school board or town council to being a volunteer coach for the speech team.

I never thought I would be at the Saratoga Sun, but I also never thought I would work at the Sinclair Refinery either. When trying to make it out of shadows cast by your family, you may very well end up following in their footsteps. It is not always a bad thing because sometimes you need to follow a trail that has already been broken to blaze one of your own. The dangerous part about this is becoming so comfortable with the path that has already been established that you fear taking the one less traveled.

When mom worked at the newspaper people often assumed that my passion for writing came from her, but I was writing long before she ever arrived at the paper. I have been published twice, once in high school and again in 2012, and have had a love for writing for as long as I can remember. Mom would tell me that one of the hardest parts of the job was writing the column and I would talk to her about the struggles of writing fiction. Now I am realizing how difficult it is to write a column and mom is discovering the arduous task of penning prose.

Living in a small town you are haunted by all the incarnations of the person you were before you became the person you are now. I moved to Saratoga in 1999 with my family after a number of summers of my father participating in the Festival of the Arts. I graduated in 2005 and left for college, and later Missoula, with the intention of forging my own path and never looking back. Things did not go as planned and I returned in 2007 married and worked at the same grocery store that had been my job in high school.

In the ten years since then I have gone through a divorce, become a father, and remarried. I used to think that living in the same town that you grew up in would prevent you from becoming who you wanted to be. What I have come to realize is that the ghosts of who you used to be cannot prevent you from becoming who you want to be if you recognize them for what they are. It is not just about stepping out of the shadows cast by your family, but by the shadows cast by yourself as well. You are not the same person you were five years ago, five months ago, or even five seconds ago and you don’t owe it to anyone, including yourself, to be that person.

My name is Joshua Wood and I am the new reporter for the Saratoga Sun. I look forward to writing quality articles for all of you to read. I’m excited to meet all of you, either again or for the first time.

Now if you would excuse me I am at the trailhead and I need to figure out which direction I should go.

 

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