The Strangeness Of Normal

Our Evac Alert has finally been lifted, and our main access road into town is once again open for business.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t still detours everywhere, and mud and debris from the floods and landslides, and broken bits of people’s livelihoods and possessions, to be sorted and scoured, but for the first time in well over two weeks we were able to leave our little island and see the state of things beyond our truncated horizon.

Apart from the lake still being about a meter above its usual level for this time of the year, and a few pools of water sporting the stubble after the corn harvest and an assortment of ducks that haven’t flown south, (those sorts of mass migrations have been breaking up for a few years now, so it’s no surprise really, that they’re still here) everything looked the same, looked like a normal early winter farmland landscape … on the surface.

If we lived in the Sumas Prairie, parts of which are still under significant amounts of water, our view would’ve been devastatingly different.

With the benefit of hindsight it was far too soon for my poor concussed brain to be exposed to the multiple onslaught of sensory information, movement, (driving) people, (we went shopping to re-stock our perishables) and noise. (created by all of the above)

However, the multitudinous events of the last five years or so, (and especially the last two) have irrevocably altered my world-view (yours too probably) as the calamities occurred closer and closer to home until this last one quite literally appeared on our doorstep.

And although everything appeared normal as while we drove the familiar roads, the strangeness I felt (apart from the concussion bits) was a sense of relief that the world (beyond the bridge that links us to the mainland) hadn’t collapsed, mixed with the knowledge that those afore mentioned calamities are still out there, still evolving, still challenging me to step through each day of my life with my eyes open.

Strange days indeed.


Flood Evac Update – The Rosebush Is Fine

It will live to bloom another day.

We’re still under the Alert Warning, but it hasn’t rained for 24 hours, and the lake is slowly, very slowly, draining into the Fraser River. So all things being equal, we should see the Alert lifted in the next couple of days.

The last of the storm-clouds, heading east

The last of the storm-clouds, heading east

Of course, nothing is ever simple. The past two weeks of storms has created some fabulously warmer temperatures, and now that they’re gone we’re back to our usual December, on-or-about-freezing night-time temperatures, and we all know what happens to water at 0┬░. (Celsius, that is)

I’m not sure what my life would feel like if there wasn’t some weather phenomenon going into crisis mode around me!

Anyway, that’s enough about the weather, let’s talk about my head. Specifically the way I banged it when I fell.

Yes, folks I have a classic case of concussion, with all the fabulous completely disorienting sensations that accompany it.

I read all your comments on my previous post. Thank you, one-and-all for your good wishes. Unfortunately, writing this post is the most focusing I’ve been able to manage so I haven’t been able to reply, and I’m going to have a good lie-down as soon as I’m done here.

I’m getting plenty of rest, lots of napping, which is the best thing I can do. That, and not moving my head in any direction too fast, or even moderately slowly.

As Mr Schwarzenegger was wont to say on far too many occasions, ‘I’ll be back’, in a few more days, and my usual chipper self.

Sunset, with some clouds, but I'll take all the blue sky I can get

Sunset, with some clouds, but I’ll take all the blue sky I can get

Have You Ever – Flood Evacuation Alert Edition …

(continuing my occasional series of weird and wonderful things that never, EVER, seriously, never, happen to me)

…been issued an Evacuation Alert, (an ‘Evacuation Alert’ is to get ready, an ‘Evacuation Order’, is to get out NOW) and …

… you spend the afternoon un-winterising your travel-trailer, that you spent an entire afternoon a week ago, winterising …

… and consulting the lists you and your spouse had been compiling since you decided that storing your travel-trailer in your front yard, is a lot more prudent in these trying times, than paying someone 45 minutes away to store it for you …

… you start transferring goods and chattels from various rooms throughout your little cottage into the travel-trailer …

…when, with arms too full, and too many thoughts whizzing around in your head, you miss-time the step off the front stoop, and go arse over tit into the rose bush?

Love these little smileys from Clip Art. :) ... in lieu of video or pics which, funnily enough, I didn't get a chance to take as the world tilted me over

Love these little smileys from Clip Art. ­čÖé … in lieu of video or pics which, funnily enough, I didn’t get a chance to take as the world tilted me over

Nah, me neither!


Assorted notes:

I may appear cool-calm-and-collected, but after today’s activities it’s only because I’ve been listening to Brett Lenahan’s YouTube channel all evening.

We can’t say we were surprised at the Evac Alert, but it still came as a shock, which is part of the reason why my bum had a close encounter with a rose. A bit distracted, I was.

Mind you, nothing focuses the attention better than that tiniest of moments when you know that gravity has you, irrevocably, in its sights, and there’s not a damn thing you can do except relax and surrender.

The flooding (and the Alert) is as a result of Atmospheric River #3, which is forecast to flow into our neck of the woods this evening, (Tuesday) and bugger off to parts east by Thursday morning.

Atmospheric River #2 ended yesterday, and happily topped off the flooding that had only just started to recede from Atmospheric River #1, (a couple of weeks ago) so, the three-in-a-row floodwaters will now have nowhere to go, but up.

The rose-bush is fine, (as am I, just a few bumps, bruises, and achy bits) it needed a good prune for the winter anyway.

We’ve done everything we can tonight. Now, it’s a waiting game.

Have another one

Have another one

I’ll keep you updated.


A new favourite from Brett …


Hemmed In – A Soggy Update

The only road from our island to … well to anywhere, really, is now restricted to ‘essential services vehicles’, only … which doesn’t include people who might be trying to get to work/shops/etc except if they’re using public transport … which doesn’t run here on the island. Catch 22 anyone?

Thankfully we, in an abundance of caution, and paying attention to the weather forecasts, did an extra ‘top-up’ run to the shops the day the restriction was announced to start that evening at 8pm.

A teensy-bit more warning would’ve been useful.

The cause is obvious. Of the four main highways out of here, (the Lower Mainland) only one is open for business, intermittently, so ALL the freight that would’ve been transported across a total of ten lanes of various highways, is now rerouted through our town, (one lane of traffic each way) and onto the above-mentioned intermittent lane of highway … which caused a teensy-bit of congestion.

Our ‘top-up’ shop, a trip of half-an-hour, took two hours and two detours.

This video, posted yesterday (24th) gives you an idea of the current state of affairs …

… A lot of the water has receded, but everything, to the right of the highway at the beginning of the video to when the helicopter turns back west, was underwater up until a few days ago.

We’re on our second ‘atmospheric river’, and as I type it’s raining as though someone’s turned a tap on full-bore. Another one is due on Saturday, and a final one (at least for now) is due a few days after that.

Gas (petrol) rationing is still in effect, I don’t see it going away any time soon really.

And finally … cue this YouTube channel with some boots-on-the-ground video of the repairs to one of major washouts on the Coquihalla Highway, one of the afore-mentioned highways that isn’t open for business.

We’re both fine. I have moments when I’m not, but that’s OK, no-one can be fine all the time going through these times, even if she’s not flooded in.

Dodging Bullets

Migraine update – My brain is finally operating completely within my skull and no further galaxies have been busted.

I’ve been trying to finish this post for a few days now, but each time I think I’ve reached the end, another bullet whizzes past my ear, with that characteristic z-zip-p-p sound that a high velocity projectile makes when it doesn’t hit you.

Living through this climate crisis, the one thing you do above all else is dodge bullets.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we’ve had a bit of rain here recently. If you do an internet search for ‘Fraser Valley BC flood’, you’ll see what I mean. Also …

Currently all four road and rail routes connecting us to the rest of BC are sporting gaping wounds and are out of commission for the foreseeable future. The only way out is to swim or fly.

I took this next video at the height of the deluge, standing on our front stoop as a river of water burbles its merry way along our footpath. At this point it’s about 10cm deep at one end and 5cm at the other …

Looks pretty doesn’t it, all that water filtering down through the grass/moss lawn.

Another torrent of water ran down the side of the house and ended up here …

But for all that water, (and it just kept on coming for hours, and hours) our little cottage remained high and dry, as are we.

The lake too filled, and filled, and filled, and two days later when the clouds had almost cleared, we pootled down to take a look …

See that pontoon out there? It usually rests on the lakeshore. The old-timers here tell us that the water’s never been this high before.

This is where I shot that video from

This is where I shot that video from

There are fuel and food shortfalls, (not quite ‘shortages’, yet) farmland devastated, farm animals barely rescued in time, or drowned, livelihoods destroyed, towns inundated with floodwaters, and mass evacuations.

The houses on the low-lying areas of our island are under a meter of water.

Thankfully, nothing ‘gushes’ on a lake, so no washouts, or eroding of banks, and the bridge on and off the island is still firmly where it ought to be. In that, we dodged a bullet.

Gasoline is being rationed until the end of the month. (no roads, no deliveries) Because we rotate through two 20L gas cans on a regular basis, and there’s really nowhere to drive to because of all the road closures, that’s another bullet (temporarily) dodged.

Our Province, only just emerging from fifteen months of a Covid-19 State of Emergency, has now declared another one to deal with the scope of this disaster.

From my, admittedly not entirely objective viewpoint at the moment, the last eighteen months seem as though every disaster movie has come home to roost.

I’m not feeling completely doom-y and gloom-y. There is good in the world, and everyday people have been working like Trojans from one end of the current devastation here in the Fraser Valley to the other. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Who knows, once the dust clears, in a handful of decades, these global crises, for those who survive them, might just be the making of us as a species … maybe.