If Kipling Had Come to the Peace Country

The Granby Leader-Mail of September 26th, 1930 carried an article by an anonymous writer who employed Kipling’s descriptive words to paint a picture of the Peace Country for American readers.  This region seems to have inspired beautifully expressive prose in the anonymous author to rival Kipling’s!

The full article is here, but there are highlights below.

Kipling provided us with what might have been a good general description of the Peace River Country when he wrote,….” White man’s country past disputing – rolling grass and open timber with a hint of hills behind,” and of its frontier homesteads “tucked away below the foothills where the where the trails run out and stop..”

Yet again it could have been its spring in “till the snow ran out in flowers and the flowers turned to aloes, and the aloes sprang to thickets, and a brimming stream ran by,” where his explorer heard “the mile-wide mutterings of unimagined rivers, and beyond the nameless timber saw the illimitable plains”; the same land where later the surveyor “plotted sites of future cities, traced the easy grades between ’em; watched the unharnessed rapids wasting fifty thousand head an hour; counted leagues of water frontage thro’ the axe-ripe woods that screen ’em…”

But it was the details that Kipling left out.  Over the whole vast expanse small fruit is plentiful, wild strawberries of a flavour impossible in more southern lands, red raspberries, wild currants and the famous saskatoon or “service berry” which the Indians used to flavor the buffalo pemmican.  Characteristic of the Peace is its luxuriant vegetation of many kinds of native grasses, of purple and white vetches, often over a horse’s back, and flowers that make a veritable wild garden of the land.  There are crocuses that blue the slopes in spring, the theme of travellers for a century and a half, yellow ladies’ slippers, orange lilies, dog roses, anemones, meadow sweet, marigolds, daisies of many varieties, wild asters, fiery Prince’s plume, tall pink fireweed, yarrow, cowslips, blue bells and a hundred other species.  The wild sweet notes of the meadow lark mingle with the piteous cry of the nesting fallow-plover, the homey twitter of wrens, the carol of wild canaries, song sparrows and a score of other sweet woodland singers, homely sounds indeed.

Between the two of them, Kipling and Anonymous did very well.  Did they inspire you?  If so, send your Peace Country description to townspirit@hotmail.com.  Submissions are always welcome 🙂

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