I've tried a dozen ways to begin this post, and the right words elude me so I'll just say it: this is my last post.
Change is as certain and unyielding as the seasons, and like the seasons, change is about beginnings and endings. The beginning this time is that I accepted a full time position as Northern Instructor for the Ontario Fire College.
This is good news for me. It means security, benefits, and the ability to buy a house (all things that normal people nail down much earlier in life), and I'm thankful for the opportunity. It will also reconnect me with the volunteer service where I spent the vast majority of my career. Last but not least, I will work full time in firefighter training, about which I continue to be passionate.
The bad news (and the ending) is that I can no longer write the Spontaneous Combustion column for Firefighting in Canada . . . or my blog. Wild and wacky opinions are appropriate for a maverick fire chief tucked safely away on the peripheral edge of the universe where he can do little harm, but they won't work for a neat and tidy Ontario public servant, which I will become in a few weeks. On second thought, neat and tidy is an exaggeration . . . but I will be an Ontario public servant nonetheless.
Only a crazy person would be sad about giving up a nutty hobby in favour of a secure job, so the good news outweighs the bad. However . . . I am a little crazy . . . and a little sad. There are still giants to be slain, windmills against which to tilt my lance, and opinions to promulgate. If I were Cervantes or Shakespeare, I could perhaps keep my post at the keyboard and make a secure living as a crusader, but (in the words of Cervantes or Shakespeare) the better part of valour is discretion, and discretion dictates that I take a hiatus to look after my family.
On the bright side, I will gain a new perspective. Although I've worked with a gamut of fire departments, I've only seen the issues from the viewpoint of a small-time fire chief. My new role will show me a different side of the same issues.
Another bittersweet ending is my contract with Confederation College's Pre Service Fire Program. Six students were hired by Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, and I believe the program has a bright future. I invested myself heavily into the maiden voyage of the program, and will leave a piece of me behind.
I can't write a final post without mentioning the Meaford trial, the outcome of which now hangs on the decision of a judge. I've voiced more than my share of opinion on this issue, so I'll let it rest with a link to an article by Laura King that echos some of my feelings on the matter.
It's been a great ride, and I've enjoyed the connections I've made along the way. I plan to leave the archived posts on line for the time being, and will continue to respond to any comments my readers leave.
I may yet find an outlet for my writing that is befitting a (not so neat and tidy) Ontario public servant. Perhaps I could change my angle and start a pseudo recipe blog.
Don't panic. I'm kidding.