Whatcom Creek, less than a mile from home, runs through the city of Bellingham, right behind city hall. What you cannot see are the salmon, already struggling to climb up the fish ladders. The run has only begun. The roaring white water, after three days of rain, is a wonderful sound. This is a beautiful spot, and not far away, there are people patiently trying to catch salmon.
Ten years ago, a pipeline broke and spilled gasoline into the creek. When it ignited, a huge, black, greasy cloud climbed into the sky. Three young boys died, along with a lot of birds and salmon. Some who live here divide their lives into before and after that day, and some are all the more opposed to fossil fuels because of what they saw happen here.