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  1. An embarrassment of riches brings a wealth of responsibility

    “’s a huge industry vital to the economy of three of the four Atlantic provinces...”

    We were in the Netherlands (quite) a few years ago a couple of days after the tail end of a hurricane had blasted its way across that flat expanse of lowland. The patches of trees (only a few hundred acres each) that represent all that is forested in that heavily agricultural country were seriously damaged with limbs and blowdowns all over the place.

    But by the time we arrived two days later it had all been fastidiously cleaned up: there wasn’t a twig on the ground anywhere—so precious are those rare tracts of forested land in this tiny, crowded country. Human nature dictates that we treasure what’s scarce.

  2. What’s old is new again: and that’s a good thing

    “...there are some things that weren’t broken and perhaps should never have been fixed.”

    We studiously try hard not to preach (for it’s condescending and counter-productive) but we do try to put subtle points in front of you along the way. Among them is the fact that traditions and values and all those things related to them have developed through a long progression of social evolution. In other words, society has determined, through an extended process of collective wisdom, that those things are correct and necessary and good.

    So we should never dispose of them lightly and move on merely because it’s “hip” or “cool”.

  3. Simpler lives in simpler times

    It’s sad in so many ways.

    We have a piece inside this issue describing life on a coastal boat servicing outports on the south coast of Newfoundland. Visiting those isolated communities is something relatively few have experienced. We are happy to say we are among them: our first of a dozen visits was 40 years or so ago.

    Perhaps the most lasting first impression was delight at the happiest kids we had ever seen. Rosy-cheeked with semi-permanent devilish grins, they seemed to revel in complete freedom.

  4. Identifying the things that really matter

    ...You understand that people are what matter and that there are no “ordinary” people...

    We emerged, grateful, from the 2017 Atlantic Journalism Awards event in St. John’s in early May with three prizes—two gold and one silver: not bad.

    But the experience jogged an interesting memory.

    In early 2003 we were interviewed by the Ryerson School Review of Journalism. The resulting article described our editorial content as “watered down” and “sweet but shallow”.

  5. Curing nature deficit disorder

    How many modern kids have heard a loon from a tent?

    Our daughter delighted us recently by announcing that she and her husband were shopping for camping gear, intent on ensuring their two tots experience nature and the outdoors as they develop.

    We have a wee bit of a tribute inside this issue, a salute of sorts (starting on page 38), to a culture and a lifestyle we seem to be steadily losing. An intimate appreciation of our northern woods and waters and the inherent outdoorsy skills that accompany that are fading into obscure history. The accumulated knowledge and experience of quite a few generations are being buried in cemeteries all across the region. It’s a downright shame.

  6. Clever startups are offering hope for rural communities

    We’re calling the initiative “Made Right Here”.

    Local boosting is what we do and from day one we have taken pains on these pages to profile local small businesses, particularly family-owned.

    Because the dire predictions we’ve been hearing for so long about our “demographic time bomb” and moribund rural communities are actually starting to manifest, more recently we’ve begun to showcase examples of innovative small business startups in mostly rural areas.

    We seem to suddenly have a plethora of interesting, smart people determined to make new ideas work in order that they and their families might enjoy our enviable quality of life here.

  7. The annual celebration of spring—finally!

    IT’S A BIT OF a departure for us, we know. We introduced sport fishing to our annual pre-spring boating section last year (to mixed reviews).

    But we are all about Atlantic Canadian culture and there is a huge rite of spring hereabouts when folks drag all manner of boats out of sheds and backyards and head out for a few fish (and perchance a few fiddleheads) for a feed and to just, well, hell, celebrate the fact that it’s spring. That’s cultural, surely.

    Four decades ago it was an accepted statistic that one in four Canadians went fishing at least once a year. A wonderful pastime—fresh air, exercise, exposure to nature, relaxation, friends, family (“grandpa and the kid” and all that).

    Then there was a decline. It seemed to be related to our increasing urbanization and folks just getting, well, too busy for the important things in life.

  8. The unacceptable impunity of the litterpigs

    WE’VE RENDERED drunk driving morally repugnant. We’ve made cigarette smoking socially unacceptable.
    It’s clearly time to set our sights on littering, which, for now at least, appears to be worsening rapidly. A feature piece inside reveals the astounding and disheartening reality that littering locally has increased more than 20 per cent in the past five years. Packaging is identified as the major culprit, especially fast food.

  9. Life goes on

    OUR MANTRA, articulated in the very first issue, is that we celebrate what we have, as opposed to bemoaning the offensive “have not” label inflicted upon us by others elsewhere who are deluded into equating happiness with the acquisition of “stuff.”

    International study after study concludes that a high quality of life, and therefore the personal happiness and fulfillment every human being seeks, is not related to personal wealth, but community. Americans, for instance, with the world’s largest economy, are notoriously unhappy people.

    Veteran New Brunswick writer, journalism professor and friend, Philip Lee focuses in on this very topic in this issue with an intriguing essay about our quality of life—“found in a deep understanding of community.”

    With a cheeky subtext, “Life is hell in a have-not province,” it chronicles small things we all take for granted that, accumulatively, sustain the inordinately high quality of life we here enjoy.

  10. With the passage of time nothing stays quite the same

    WE WERE OBLIGED, in late March, to eulogize our Food Editor Emeritus, and dear friend, Marie Nightingale. It was a thoroughly painful assignment. Marie (reluctantly) retired when she was 80 and died at her home in Halifax, age 85.

    Knowing that traditional wholesome cooking and baking would form an important element of our editorial content and, of course, knowing Marie’s work and reputation, she was the first writer we approached in our pre-launch planning for this publication. She was 72 years of age at the time and enthusiastically agreed.