Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fisherman's Fall

Roderick Haig-Brown

Living and writing here in the Haig-Brown House in Campbell River has been an immersion into the life and spirit of one of the Twentieth Century's great writer-naturalists. At an open house on the weekend for local people in the writing and conservation communities to meet the new Writer-in-Residence, I was welcomed by many who knew the Haig-Brown family well. All spoke of Roderick and Ann with great reverence and admiration.

Here he is in 1950, explaining what it means to be a conservationist:
I have been, all my life, what is known as a conservationist. It seems clear beyond possibility of argument that any given generation of men can have only a lease, not ownership, of the earth; and one essential term of the lease is that the earth be handed down on to the next generation with unimpaired potentialities. This is the conservationist's concern.
(Roderick Haig-Brown. Measure of the Year. p. 26).

And last night, visiting the home of a man who has the definitive collection of Haig-Brown's life and works, I had the privilege of reading a limited edition of one of his diaries. Here is the entry from July 29, 1928:

A real day’s fishing on the Nimpkish at last . . . God, but it’s wonderful to stand in the middle of a wild river with the stream tugging at your knees, joy singing in your heart & the line shooting out into the boiling water . . . .

Finally, here is a film called "Fisherman's Fall" made by the National Film Board in the inimitable style of the old NFB I grew up with. You have to view it in two parts:

And here is part two:


  1. I Googled and found this short myself after reading your first post on R H-B, and marveled at its beauty, especially the underwater shots.

  2. Hey Pete--that is cool. I met a fellow here the other day who used to swim the river with H-B. He is going to take me for a walk and show me around a bit.


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