Saturday, May 19, 2012

A blue sky day

We had only been walking a few minutes, perhaps 10, when we heard the warning sound from the tracks running parallel to the road.  Then, with barely a sound, the northbound train sped by.  I glanced toward the tracks as the first train cars passed from our view, and spotted a dog running free, heading straight into the speeding passenger train.  No sound, just the sight.

As the last train car passed, a man approached from the opposite side, a leash dangling from his hand, his profile framed by the sweeping view of Puget Sound on a blue-sky morning.  Stepping with care and taking his time, he reached the still body and leaned over it, his hands touching, working at some careful task I could not see.  I was overcome by a need to help in some small way: does he need a phone, is the dog alive, does he need to know I witnessed the accident and share in his loss?

What I want to say is this: my emotions propelled me to put myself in danger, and though I was taking great care not to roll my ankle on the rocky shoulder of the tracks, I was on auto-pilot, moving fast to close the gap and connect with this man.  It never occured to me that what I was doing was dangerous, despite the fact that just moments earlier a train sped by with very little auditory warning.  "Ma'am, you need to get off the tracks!" a voice called, and when I replied to the railroad worker seated in his truck nearby, he admonished me further: "You saw what happened to the dog, didn't you?"  

That cinched it for me- the clear and present danger- and so I stepped away and waited for the man to approach, his hands occupied with the orange collar and matching leash.  He accepted my condolences and offer of a hug, but barely.  "He got out of his tether; we had him for a year- got him from the pound.  We gave him a chance."  Mementos in hand, he walked away.

I am certain this event shall stay with me for a very long time; perhaps the rest of my life.  And I trust that the lesson learned- to stay alert to my own safety and well-being despite the circumstances, will be the silver lining in this painful witness on a perfectly stunning spring day.



  1. I am so sorry you had to bear witness to this. I imagine it brought back the feelings around Harold, whom you lost in an instant run gone amuck. How life can change entirely in an instant. I am so glad that you did remain safe, dear sister. I am mourning your experience...I love you.

    1. "Oh my," is all I can say right now. Pure love to you.

  2. Geo, Jan and Carol,

    Thank you for your heartfelt words of support and love.