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On Tour

May 10, 2012

Only one school left
Posted by Gary Kent

Gary Kent

Six days on the road and 7 elementary schools. And everyone darn one of them as different as can be. An A/V presentation adds an additional level of complication as not every teacher is conversant with the technology and I’m a hopeless klutz. So most presentations come down to the wire. Is there a disaster about to happen and up pops a 9 yr old and takes over?. Whew. Back at the ranch my contact with 9 yr olds is rare and mostly distant but for the past week I have been the focus of attention of up to 60 at a time and everyone one of them touched just a wee bit by the ‘cult of celebrity.’ Once the stampede for autographs begins there is not stopping it and just about every one of them is insistent upon having at least one signature.
The Koonenays afford some spectacular scenery but more interesting to me is, for want of a better expression, the culture. The eastern Kootenays have several communities totally dependent on the coal industry and massive operations in the Elk Valley (Sparwood, Elkwood)) afford a close up view of an industry that many folks, including myself, would rather be somewhere else, say Kazakhstan or Patagonia. But there is a fairly large population of people in the valley who have lived and breathed the financial, and community, benefits of this somewhat unholy operation. The ‘operations’ as they call them are a sight to behold and Bryan has posted some amazing photos of two of the mine sites. An ugliness that very slowly shifts into a certain beauty perhaps. And fairly close to these open pit mines we witnessed an array of wildlife: large herds of elk and deer and a small group of mountain goats that were close enough to us that I was tempted to hop on one and go for a ride. In fact the valley is so abundant in wild life that I was almost yearning for a few more glimpses of domestic herds.
A library event this evening in Fernie, a school tomorrow in Creston and then home. Sure hope I can do this again next year.


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