Sunday, July 15, 2012



Eden is my granddaughter, daughter of my daughter, Natika, and her love, Robert Dennis Jr. of the HUU-AY-AHT First Nation.

Eden began in the garden of Huu-ay-aht, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  Huu-ay-aht is an efflorescent of bald eagles, black bears, sea lions, grey whales, and orcas.  Huu-ay-aht is the rainforest along rocky shores and sandy beaches and ocean swells; Huuy-ay-aht is where rivers hug and kiss the Pacific Ocean.

It is summer and Baron and I, well, we've a wanderlust for a buskation west. Very soon each morning we shall be rising at the cockcrow and driving (not in the hammer-lane) westward along the Trans-Canada Highway toward Eden.

Our first stop shall be Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. home to the NATO flight training school and to the Snowbirds, Canada’s military aerobatic air show flight demonstration team. Moose Jaw is situated where the Moose Jaw River is shaped like the jaw of a moose.  Busking is pretty loose in Moose Jaw, as there are no bylaws relating directly to busking.

From there we shall continue to Swift Current, named by the fur traders for the little brown creek, of which the headwater is in the Cyprus Hills, the highest elevation east of the Rockies.  Swift Current is a flat dry land of gophers and eagles.  As long as we busk downtown at the Market Square, we do not need to pay a performance fee.

Next we’ll be busking in Canada’s sunniest city, Medicine Hat, Alberta.  Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Hat was a gathering place for the Blackfoot, Cree, and Assiniboine Nations for hundreds of years.   Medicine Hat was so named for the Blackfoot eagle feathers headdress worn by the Medicine Men.  Medicine Hat is a land of rolling hills, a raging South Saskatchewan River, and rattlesnakes.  The City of Medicine Hat does not license busking.

Then comes Calgary, situated along the Bow River, in the foothills just east of the Rockies.  Calgary is named for the Old Norse words Kald (cold) gart (garden). This is cowboy country and home to the world famous Calgary Stampede.  (In the dirty thirties, 1931 to be exact, my Aunt Georgie and my father, Jack, aged 14 and 10 respectively, hitch-hiked 350 miles from Vanguard, Saskatchewan to the Calgary Stampede.)  In Calgary we are invited to show off our busking skills at certain locations, provided we have busking ID’s (at no charge).

Fifty miles west of Calgary is Canmore, on the Bow River amidst the Rockies and near Banff National Park.  Every Thursday we can busk for free at the Canmore Mountain Market.

Our next busk west shall be in Golden, British Columbia, nestled in the Rocky Mountain Trench at the confluence of the Columbia and Kicking Horse rivers.  To busk in Golden we just need to fill out the forms.

Further along our buskation we’ll be in Revelstoke, British Columbia, on the Columbia River, then heading west from there through Eagle Pass and the Monashee Mountains. I do not yet know the rules of busking in Revelstoke.

Halfway between Calgary and Vancouver, and on the shores of the Shuswap Lake is Salmon Arm, home of the largest wooden wharf in North America – we’ll be busking there for sure!  And there are no licensing requirements!

And then, Kamloops!  Kamloops (the anglicised version of the Shuswap word meaning meeting of the waters) is situated at the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers.
Kamloops is a countryside filled with tall Ponderosa Pines, Big Sagebrush, prickly Pear Cacti, rattatatting Red-headed woodpeckers, Black Widow spiders, and Northern Pacific rattlesnakes. In Kamloops we’ll be busking at the Farmers’ Market.

I spent a few seasons in Kamloops, working on the green chains at the Weyerhauser sawmills, and on the end of the survey chains of McWilliam, Whyte, Goble, & Associates, contracting for West Coast Transmissions, Trans Mountain Pipelines, and Noranda Mines.

When I think of Kamloops I think of my mom and Brian, who still reside there, and of the zenith at our buskation end, Eden. Eden will be celebrating her first birthday in Kamloops, in her new regalia, her new dance, and her new song!

Because of the constant rainy days, the characters marching in my Chaucerian Parade this week are but one precious pair, Kayleigh and Syrah.  As I was busking with my 12-string and brand new Blues Harp in the Scarth Street Mall, right next to me were these sweet anthophilous hippy maidens, spinning and weaving sage, and selling and chatting and laughing with consumers the whole while. These darling Saskatchewan sylphs were the only sparkle in my drizzmal week of downtown busking -- I do hope the fates are kind and I meet up with Kayleigh and Syrah again!