By Ashley Lodato
I accompanied the Methow Valley Nordic Team up to Canada for the weekend, for races near Kamloops, B.C. The 36 of us light-skinned skiers and parents breezed through the border crossings on each end of the trip, with warm welcomes from both countries as we entered. Some of us idly (and rhetorically) wondered what it would be like in today’s political climate to try to bring a sports team of dark-skinned young athletes back through the U.S. border.
At our hotel in Kamloops, the front page of a newspaper on the table in the lobby showed a photo of the snowy, desolate swath of felled trees that comprises most of the U.S.-Canada border. The headline asked, “Should Canada build a wall?”
“No!” we thought to ourselves, as we explored the downtown area, noticing shades of dozens of ethnicities on the faces we encountered. The city felt alive, interesting and harmonious; the kind of place that embraces all the beauty the world has to offer.
We drove back to the Methow on the eve of President’s Day, returning to the country that opened its doors to my Sicilian grandfather in 1919, my English grandfather in 1920, and my Canadian grandmother in 1938. We arrived to find dirty snowbanks and sloppy driveways, but it felt good to be home.
If you’ve been wondering about Daniel Lyon, the firefighter who survived the crash of Engine 642 in the Twisp River Fire of 2015, here’s a little update that has been circulating, from the forest supervisor of the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana where Daniel is preparing for future job opportunities. Daniel continues to recover from the burns he suffered during the fire and has plans for projects and field work with the Bitterroot National Forest. He will speak this spring to firefighters at trainings and other forums, with the intention of improving firefighting safety programs.
Although he is living with his family in Montana during his recuperation, Daniel remains connected to folks in the Methow Valley, and I think I speak for many of us when I say that we will forever consider him an honorary and honored member of our community. Anyone who feels inclined to send him a note can do so at: Daniel Lyon, c/o Bitterroot National Forest, 1801 N. First, Hamilton, MT 59840.