Becky Fox: Millennium Harper of Northern Puget Sound, 2002


From: Becky Fox, Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 12:24:33 -0700, Subject: [MillenniumHarpers] re: North Puget Sound Harp Quest

Well, when I started this quest late in August I did wonder if I would be able to finish it in time. Now here I am writing the last installment of my Quest sites. While I am running out of cooperative weather here in the North West, it does seem a bit sad to both myself and my husband to be done with it. We have traveled to some beautiful spots around here and met some wonderful people in our travels and as a whole have thoroughly enjoy our Questing travels. A few of the sites that I originally planned to do did not happen but the ones that took their place were incredible in their own right. All of the pictures are back and being sorted through for just the right ones, out of 14 rolls of film. My husband thoroughly enjoyed being my official quest recorder! As soon as we get them on the computer, some will be posted to the harp quest photo pages. How long John can or should I leave them up? I think we have figured out how to get them on and off the system. Anyways I will post a note when they get there. Here is my last days questing.

Site # 26 - On October 6th we headed north to Lummi Island, just north west of Bellingham. This time the ferry at Goosberry Point was up and running with a cheerful new paint job of white, blue, and red. The Whatcom Chief is a small open ferry that carries 20 cars on a quick 10 minute ride across the channel to Lummi Island. I had a great Uncle who lived there when I was a kid 30 some years ago. Haven't been over there since that time. However in stopping at the small store to ask where to play we met a man who had known my great Uncle and who used to go salmon fishing with him. Such a small world. The lady at the store was most helpful and directed us to the only public access beach on the island, owned by the Congregational Church. Another quest intersection, I grew up in a congregational church. It was a classic small white steepled church next to the island cemetery. At the back of the parking lot was a trail down through the middle of giant cedar and fir trees. A set of steps carved into the bank lead the way down between wild currant, salal plants and some tame blackberries that made almost a tunnel over the steps. The beach was rocky and faced south along the bay that my father used to fish up and down ever trying to catch the elusive salmon. I set up on the beach and a couple came walking by and stopped for a moment. When they appeared to look like they thought they might be intruding I invited them to sit and listen if they wished, which of coarse they did. My husband helped me explain my quest as I tuned and got ready to play. They enjoyed my music and were eager to sign a witnesses for my quest, leaving some very nice comments with their signature. We had a most lovely time. I sat and played for a while longer after they left, mostly noodling to the waves and the wind. I am finding this quest has greatly increased my comfort and skill at improvisation. I am enjoying it very much and the music often sounds so right for the space and time. Weather wise the sun was playing hide and seek with us, sometimes poking out of the gray threatening skies and sometimes not. We got a few sprinkles of rain on the ferry ride back to the mainland but other than that remained dry the rest of the day.

From Gooseberry point we drove back to I-5 and headed for Blaine and the Canadian Boarder. Site # 27 became the Blaine Waterfront park that sits on the breakwater jutting into Birch Bay from Blaine. There they had built several small platform like stages and even a small amphitheater facing out into protected tideflats and birding areas on Birch Bay. In front of one platform they had created a pod of Orca Whales in cement. One breaching, one spyhopping, and a couple of fins and backs. This is where I set up and played. Since we hadn't seen any Orca's on our travels this seemed a nice trade off. So I played in a pod of Orcas! How many harpers can claim that one? :) People came and went mostly moving right on by in a hurry to get somewhere else. No one stopped, but the lady in the visitor's information booth was most helpful in directing us to the Peace Arch Park entrance and listening to our quest stories, so we gave her a Harping for Harmony Pin and thanked her for her kindness.

Site # 28 - Last stop the Peace Arch on the Canadian Boarder. It was so exciting to be at the last site on this quest. Since the weather was still trying to be threatening with gray and black clouds overhead, there were not the usual crowds of people at the park but there were enough. The park itself is a wonderful testament to the efforts and friendship of both sides. One does not have to go through customs to enter the park or to wander the areas of the park on either side of the border. The arch itself is built directly over the border, the 49th parallel, so that when you stand in the middle of the arch you are standing directly on the border. I-5 passes on either side of the arch with customs stops on either end for Canada or the US. One walks from the parking lot through the gardens and under the oak and chestnut trees,that are turning lots of lovely colors, and moves down the hill and then crosses I-5 on foot, mind you the cars are moving slowly and happy to let you pass, to the center where the Arch stands. On either end are flower beds planted to look like the flags of the two nations. I set up directly in the middle of the arch and played for a good 30 - 45 minutes. The acoustics were wonderful inside the arch. People stopped and commented on the music, and a few signed as witnesses including a visitor from Lithuania. Some came and stood in the middle with me to take their pictures. I had a great time. Then we moved out to the Canadian side and played for a while, moving from spot to spot as the mood struck us. There is a lovely Oriental style pond and garden on the Canadian side that made for a lovely area at play at. Back on th American side we stopped and I played in front of the flag flower bed. There some children came up and asked me about the harp a gave me a chance to explain about harps to them. They of coarse received pins for their interest. Then they ran off to join their parents. We packed up to leave after being there for 2 hours and made our way back across I-5 and up the hill to the parking lot. There we ran into the same family and they were kind enough to take a picture of my husband and myself together. Fitting for the ending of this long quest. They were recent immigrants from the Philippines to Canada and they had a friend with them who was visiting from the Philippines. I explained the quest to them and asked if it was all right for the children to sign as witnesses for my quest since they had been so interested in the harp. They readily agreed and also signed themselves. I answered a few more questions about my harp and the music and then we wished them well and headed for home. It was an incredible end to an incredible journey. I had no idea how this quest would grow and become a force of its own when I started out. My husband says that my playing has improved considerably with this quest. I seem to be able to concentrate better even with distractions and can cover mistakes much more smoothly than before. It was so much fun playing in all of these different beautiful places and sharing my music and my harp with so many different people. Thank you John for starting this idea.

Becky Fox - Millennium Harper of the North Puget Sound

(Below is the declaration of my quest:)

I, Becky L. Fox declare on this day the 14th of march 2002 my intention to claim the title of Millennium Harper of the Northern Puget Sound. In doing so, I will perform in public venues and parks in at least 25 different places. These will include places in the San Juan Islands, Cammanoe, Fidalgo, Whidbey, Guemus, and Lummi Islands as well as Bellingham, Blaine, and Semiahmoo and the Peace ArchPark at the boarder crossing. I declare that I will complete this quest by the end of December of this year and will provide the necessary documentation in the form of witness signatures and/or photographic evidence to back up my claim. In completion of the questI will claim the tittle of Millenium Harper of the Northern Puget Sound.