…By Teresa Carey. Published in the Jul. 9, 2015 issue of the Interlake Spectator.
Fifty-three-year-old fisher and writer, Bruce Benson, can be found daily at his fish plant at Silver Harbour, near Arnes, filleting the pickerel he sells on site from one of the last utilitarian fish sheds left on the lake.
“You need to get over the loathing of work until it becomes a joy to you,” Benson remembers his old school master, Frank Wiens, saying.
Wiens was one of the founders of St. John’s Cathedral Boys School in Selkirk, where Benson was sent by his father. This school, which took students from all over the world, was known for the rigorous demands it placed on its boys, with activities like snowshoeing 50 miles a day, and tough canoe trips.
“(Those were) an ordeal that was meant to be overcome,” Benson recounted.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he added.
It was this early school experience that Benson said shaped his unique point of view and enabled him to embark on his own adventures as an adult–kayaking down the Mississippi River twice; hiking 200 miles in winter from Norway House to Hecla Island while dragging a sled, cycling from Vancouver to Tijuana, Mexico, and training for the iron man triathlon.
This passion for challenge and the philosophy that grew out of his experiences are imparted in his books, which he began publishing in 2005 with “A Season for Skufty,” a work that outlines his philosophy of life.
“It took me 35 years to get to my spiritual philosophy–that people have more in common than they have different…differences are nothing compared to what we have in common,” Benson explained.
Benson is so passionate about this idea that, in addition to writing about it, he has designed a flag to celebrate the commonality of being human, called the “Flag of Humanity”. One such flag is currently flying across the street from the United Nations building in New York. It is Benson’s hope to see this flag flying over all the nations of the earth, and eventually in every school on earth.
Other books by Benson include, “Sharp Eyes,” which was published in 2006, and is a commentary on the Aboriginal situation as it is today; “The Embrace,” (2012), is based on journals he kept during his time in Egypt. Benson’s fourth book, “Bruce Benson Columns” (2014) is a collection of his award winning journalism pieces, written while he was employed with the “Hendersonville Times News”.
Signed copies of his all Benson’s books are available at his fishing station at the Arnes dock every day between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Copies are also available at Tergesen’s General Store in Gimli.
To learn more about the Flag of Humanity initiative, visit www.flagofhumanity.com.