AJAs 2016 Finalists


Date Aired or Published Autumn 2016
Media outlet where first aired or published:
Name of Program:
If co-produced, list partner:
Location: St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada
List awards, grants:
Running time (TV/Radio):

Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

Author’s Notes about Reflections From The River. Nobody knows the date for sure, but possibly as much as three thousand years ago, a writer called Joel penned some prophetic sounding words. Speaking to a nation under severe economic and military duress at the time, he reassured his fellow countrymen that ultimately God was on their side and that everything would be okay in the end if they would only smarten up and do what was right. Putting it poetically he promised: “your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams.” This comforting line was deemed so divinely insightful that it was quoted by several subsequent writers including a doctor named Luke, who is generally believed to have written The Acts of the Apostles, a work that made it into the New Testament part of the Holy Bible. In fact, Joel’s own book was canonized as part of the Old Testament, and Joel himself is numbered among the early prophets of Jewish history. Scholars refer to him as a prophet caught between calamity and hope. Given the tenor of our times—between calamity and hope—and conscious of my own growing propensity to dream dreams and to reflect upon past and present events rather than to see visions of the future, I decided to write this reflective piece for the Atlantic Salmon Journal whose salmon angling readers often find themselves wading in reflective waters and plunged into pensive moods. With play on words, and allowing symbolism to work its magic, I put my photographic skills to work to capture mirror-like images from the reflective surfaces of some lovely Atlantic streams. The piece also allowed me to indulge in allusions to old friends like Lewis Carroll, William Wordsworth, Samuel Ferguson, and William Shakespeare, whose lyrics have comforted me in many of my own near calamities and crises of hope. But mainly, I was urged to write by the force of affectionate memory; memory of a good school teacher whose shibboleths have guided me like pebbles of sparkling wisdom strewn along on my lengthening life path. Nevertheless, some years ago, during the height of The Troubles, I returned to Northern Ireland where, not far from the bombed out ruins of our church hall, and closer still to the rubble of another important shrine—one of our two village pubs—I met again the beloved Tricky Burns, by this time a seriously old man. His trusty housekeeper served us Lipton’s tea which we sipped from Spode china cups while we dreamed dreams together, reflecting upon quiet pools we once knew where trout and the occasional salmon used to lurk. It took some years of incubation, but eventually the story just insisted on being written.

Resources of the newsroom (money and time) available to complete the story:

Material for this work was mainly mined from the Hugh McKervill's personal memory and required no travel. ASF, a non-profit conservation organization, paid the author an editorial fee for this contribution.

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