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The Hawk's Nest

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Everything that is new this year has a history that supports it. This year’s developments are bursting out of last year’s, and last year’s did the same.

Sometimes it seems that just as I’m getting used to the latest incarnation of a creation I like, it’s time for a change. Any change is uncomfortable at first because it doesn’t give us that old comfortable feeling, a familiar and expected outcome of pleasantness in our mind. It can’t because the result of any change is, at first, unknown.

So, this issue of The River Journal is uncomfortable at best and discomforting at worst, with a completely different format ranging from a new look to new publication schedule.

However, I don’t want to give the impression I think change is bad, not this change or many others. Oftentimes change is the result of growth or anticipated growth.

A few weeks ago it was spring. In our forest, that meant the Oregon grape was flowering, the Ocean spray was putting out new shoots, all the while the firs, pines, and tamaracks were setting out their new growth for this year. In many cases, the new shoots with flowers and blossoms will change into berries or some other seed bearing shell of the plant. In both the low brush and the tall trees all the new, young life is not just for this year but a foundation for future years of life. The seed heads and flowers will produce seed for another crop; the extensions of the branches on the trees will be a foundation for next year’s extensions, and some of what is new this year will die and go back to the earth for fertilizing future new life.

These changes are not just for the sake of change, it makes the plant strong and vibrant. It also is not haphazard or without a plan.

I notice each spring the bright green tips on the end of each Grand fir branch, the furry looking ends of the Douglas firs and the branches of the pines reaching out and up into the unknown. But it didn’t just happen. Everything that is new this year has a history that supports it. This year’s developments are bursting out of last year’s, and last year’s did the same. In fact, where the changes do not occur usually is a sign that the plant is becoming unable to support life at all.

I take lessons from what I see around me and try to apply them to my life. When Trish, the publisher of The River Journal, told me she wanted to take the paper to a magazine format, I knew this change was the next natural incarnation of the old River Journal bi-monthly.

The first time I remember hearing about it was several years ago in a brain storming session about the business. I wasn’t so sure it was a good idea; really it was just too different for me at that time. Back then, the paper still hit the streets in black and white with an occasional single color for accent. That product, printed in a little shop in Montana, made a full color magazine seem quite radical.

I had become aware of the paper just as it was going from a free paper mailed to every household in the area to a free pick-up paper with several distribution points. The truth is that history of the early paper being sent to everyone was the introduction it needed to survive until today. People wanted to pick it up when the mailings stopped.

When the printing was moved to a larger, more professional shop, the idea of a few full color pages started making sense and became a reality. I must admit to my fear of a slick-looking periodical that was more about looks than substance.

This is where another dimension of change comes into play, integrity. Integrity, without a doubt is the most important part of any change, is why it must be supported by a strong history.

As I’ve talked to Trish about this I have seen how it is important to her that a change this dramatic must be grounded in the roots of the old paper. This change must continue to support both the readers and the advertisers with intelligence, honesty, and professionalism.

The Earth supports the trees and their new growth with nutrients and in turn they convert the air so we can breathe it while providing shade and shelter for other plant and animal species. A paper pays for stories with the support of advertising sales. The readers are the reason those advertisers are in The River Journal.

There is another part to change. Not only do the new branches of the trees support newer life, they also age and over the years will be shed to support even more life in another way.

Now it is time for The River Journal newspaper to shed an old look to support the change into The River Journal news magazine.

As the song says the “young become the old” and the latest incarnation of The River Journal is now the young – with a history. It will have a new unfamiliar feel just as the new growth on the firs feels different, and is proof it is vibrant.

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

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