By Ashley Lodato

A Boy Scout troop from Spokane wins the intrepid spirit award for Presidents’ Day weekend. A dozen scouts and their leaders drove over from the east side for a hut trip in the Rendezvous, arriving at the Gunn Ranch trailhead at 10:30 p.m. They then faced a 10-kilometer ski up to Gardner Hut, in soft conditions, with a light mist falling. They stepped into their bindings without a whimper, and made their way upwards, arriving at the hut somewhere around 2 a.m. and settling in for a well-deserved rest.

Just imagine skiing into an unfamiliar place in the mountains under cover of total darkness (as their headlamps had been sent ahead in the gear haul, they put their skis in the tracks and stayed the course), tucking into bed, and then awakening at the top of the Rendezvous, looking out over snow-capped Gardner and the Sawtooths, with a river of fog down below in the valley. That first morning was one that many of them probably won’t forget.

A few weeks ago my fourth-grader woke up and hobbled down the stairs, clutching the railing and groaning with every step. “I’m so sore!” she moaned. I asked her what from, thinking maybe a rigorous ski team workout or a test in PE class was the source of her pain. “Music class!” she answered. “Music class?” I repeated. “Jeff Monahan was the sub,” she explained, and all became clear. (For those of you who don’t know him, in addition to being a state-certified teacher who is working as a substitute, Jeff is also a total fitness buff who runs a CrossFit gym and is well-known for incorporating calisthenics into many subjects.) Serendipitously, the rhythm of music can be experienced quite handily through push-ups and squats, with the only price of this unforgettable lesson being a few days of stiffness.

Nobody likes to think about dying, but we all know it’s inevitable. One approach to death is to simply ignore its inexorability, but Methow At Home has a better idea: get informed and get empowered. Thus on Thursday (Feb. 18) at 4 p.m. at the TwispWorks Education Station, Methow At Home and the Lookout Coalition are presenting a film screening of Speaking of Dying, a short film dedicated to the idea that we can all have a better death. The idea is to think and speak openly about the end of life, before a crisis renders it impractical or impossible for you to make your own choices. All are welcome to attend.