Six months after the trains, in December, snow started – which is normal in our mountain community.
But snow kept coming and coming…. for more than two months. A foot or two at a time, came, and stayed, stacking up, cutting us off from the world. Struggling to snow plow your way out.
The toughest winter in 20 years. Sub-freezing temps burst pipes and blocked our driveway for months. Can’t get out, can’t get it, can’t get around. Darkness.
And in the middle of it, a winter ice storm - an emergency declaration in Oregon. I drove to work at the Hood River EOC (Emergency Operations Center) to see if we could help. I stayed there three days with my two dogs, Dude and Doodle, since roads were closed in between.
On the last day of that 4-day work emergency, my dog son Dude went to find his basset brother in heaven. I closed the EOC doors at 1pm on Friday, and three hours later, at 4pm, Dude died.
That was January 20. Here it is, four and a half months later on June 3rd.
We’re standing on the edge of a glorious Gorge summer day. It’s the one-year anniversary of the Mosier oil train derailment.
I have to work – I can’t attend today's Mosier remembrance ceremony. Maybe that’s better.
For me, it’s all been a very private year of grieving. Not about the politics of railroads but about love and loss and trains that make sounds in the night while the bassets remain silent.
To cope, I joined the Board of Mosier Fire District. And surf on with my doxie Doodle.
We all learned a lot from the derailment. Like what matters most.