It’s been ghastly hot here in Seattle for the last three days (and on top of that it’s been an entirely hot and dry summer to boot). In our Madrona neighborhood, Madrona Beach is a respite for crowds of local children and parents seeking the cool water. Yesterday, the thermometer reached 100 degrees on my car thermometer (measuring OUTSIDE air temperature)! For those who don’t know much about Seattle weather, there are two days per year on average which are 90 degrees or above. So you can imagine how rarely the mercury hits 100.
I take my dog, Gede down to Lake Washington almost every day in summer because as a Yellow Lab she’s fully a water dog. She likes nothing more than to retrieve a stick from the lake. On hots days like these, she’ll even paddle around the Lake for extended periods without any stick in sight.
So we were down by our favorite swimming hole and I noticed a Seattle Marine Police boat with dinghy anchored to the swimming raft. When I asked someone nearby what’d happened he told me that four children had decided to jump off the raft and swim under it (ah, the foolish things that kids decide they have to do!). Only three returned from the dive.
As we were talking I also noticed a Seattle Dive Rescue Squad truck cruising to the Beach with sirens and lights blazing. Serious stuff.
Another bystander told me that they weren’t actually sure whether three or four children dove into the water. But the Police were taking the report seriously and acting as if there was a child in the water.
Two folks interested in swimming came by and asked what was going on. When I told them the story, one friend said to the other: “I don’t think I want to go in today.” I understood the sentiment. The situation reminded me of the time when I wanted to show my friend, Lois, the amazing beaches at Big Sur. I took her down to one of my favorite places and our car was stopped near the entrance by a Park officer. She told us that a family had been enjoying the beach when a child had gone into the water and developed trouble swimming. The mother then went in to save it. I can’t remember whether a grandmother had also gone in to save the two. Anyway, at least two or possibly three had drowned. Needless to say, it didn’t matter how beautiful the beach was. We didn’t want to be there. There was a feeling of unutterable sadness and tragedy in our hearts as we tried to absorb this terrible news. How horrible.
Late Breaking News: I just called the KOMO TV news desk to ask what they know of the story and the assignment editor told me that the Police have still not found anyone. They now believe that either there never was a fourth child or that he/she had already returned home before they others took their dive. Thank God!