COLUMN: Surprising closures to ‘endless summer’

The ‘endless’ summer of 2015 came to an abrupt end for me in the past week ...

On the Other Hand by Mark Rushton

The ‘endless’ summer of 2015 came to an abrupt end for me in the past week, beginning with an osprey nest in the northeast corner of Matsqui Prairie toppling onto hydro lines last Friday.

That knocked power out at 7 a.m., requiring me to manually raise a garage door, move a car and dig out the generator which, thanks to neglect, had a dead battery.

Fortunately, a couple of pulls on the starter cord and she fired up, allowing a hairdryer (not mine) to work and coffee to be made.

That, of course, was followed by Saturday’s big windstorm, a second extended power failure and the subsequent deluge, coupled with temperatures that dropped to single digits by Wednesday afternoon.

However, the excitement really began last Thursday when, driving along North Parallel Road just west of the Kilgard Reserve, I was astonished to see a cow elk grazing just beneath the powerlines.

It is my understanding that elk were eradicated from the eastern parts of the Fraser Valley well before Sumas Lake was drained, thus to have one now placidly grazing on land that was formerly submerged makes its presence truly historic.

I also heard that a nearby resident saw a pair of the animals the evening before my sighting.

Fortunately, unlike with Sasquatch sightings, I managed to get a couple of photos as proof of its existence.

Where it/they came from is anyone’s guess, and whether they will survive in such close proximity to the freeway is another matter.

Regardless, having such magnificent creatures literally within a kilometre of the urbanized Whatcom Road area is unprecedented.

That evening, sitting on my deck still marvelling over the elk, the earth really did move for me … the first of two earthquakes shook my chair, the sleeping dog on its feet in a nanosecond as the entire house groaned.

Two days later, at about 4:45 a.m. the second quake occurred with a similar mighty thump.

Thus, after almost a week of startling natural phenomena I thought it was time to partake in a dose of political excitement by joining a highly partisan crowd numbering well into the hundreds to hear what Prime Minister Harper had to say in the build-up to the October 19 federal election.

The venue was a crowded, cleared space within a huge door and window factory, which may seem odd but was fitting since it is not only one of Abbotsford’s largest employers but a significant international exporter of product. Which fit rather well with Harper’s message of the need for a strong economy and job creation that, since it was a partisan crowd, was enthusiastically received.

While standing in the line-up to gain entrance to the facility I found the significant number of young people surprising, given that Conservative Party rallies are traditionally the electoral turf of the grey and balding.

And certainly those of us sporting such indicators of age were well in the majority Wednesday evening.

However, seeing teens and twenty-somethings taking an interest in how our country is to be governed is refreshing.

This election will also provide British Columbians with the opportunity to have a significant impact on the outcome.

Not only does B.C. have a half dozen more seats in Parliament, but due to new electoral rules, election results from across Canada will be available to us before polls close in B.C.

This may create the potential for strategic voting, and spurring parties to engage in last-minute ‘get out to vote’ frenzies.

Won’t that be fun!

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