Here is the evidence I went out riding today. It's not that I think you wouldn't believe me without the image - I could have blogged about the ride without it – but a pictures ability to add to the word count without adding any words is the stuff of legends. From what I gather from Facebook it seems some UK readers may be sick of the sight of snow, and to them I apologise, but it was the dusting of overnight snow that got me out of the house this morning. I wanted to ride in the snow a couple of weeks back but we had too much work on for me to find the time. Today gave the perfect combination: a sunny day and enough snow to make it a snow ride, without too much to render riding an impossibility.
Yesterday we met an American who had worked in Jajce at the end of the nineties. They were excited to here about the developing youth work project we are part of. The word pioneering cropped up in the conversation. I'll confess it's not a tag that sits easily because I'm conscious that our success so far owes a huge debt to everyone who has worked on similar projects here in the years before we arrived. At the same time, when people with the experience to comment with some historical perspective on what we're doing use the word it seems foolish to dismiss the compliment.
As we look ahead to 2011 we do want to be part of something that provides new opportunities and experiences to young people in Jajce. For all my hang-ups, yes, we do want to be involved in something pioneering, even if we don't want to jump to stick that tag on it ourselves. In our first couple of months here we've seen far more progress than we would have dared anticipate. As we kick off our working year later this week we have plenty to work on, and a surprisingly large number of young people to start working with. Being in the right place and the right time may be a cliché but it also may be our present reality.
Which brings us back to the photo. It clearly shows my bike tyre tracks in fresh snow: trail blazing, or pioneering if you will. I shot it close-up. There's nothing to give any sense of scale or perspective, except if you know the average width of a mountain bike tyre. Were these the lone tracks across a vast untouched snow field? Are they carving a furrow on the verge of a well-gritted highway? You can't tell. Perhaps it doesn't matter. The snap shot shows activity where five minutes before there was none. Instead of a blank page it shows the signs of purpose and progress. If 2011 is stretched out in front of us like a sunny snow day I hope there will be plenty of these kind of photo opportunities as we make happy trails.