Thursday, May 3, 2012

From Cascade School District to John Carlos

It's just like Dorothy says in the Wizard of Oz. No matter where you go, there's no place like home. Taking a commuter flight from Seattle on a clear spring day is finest commercial plane ride I've ever known. First you pull out across the Tacoma port, take a hard 180 and pass by Mt. Raineer before it feels like you practically touch the mountaintops of the Enchantment Range. All to end up in the Wenatchee Valley, meet up with family and longtime friends, and the kids of the Cascade School District.
Every year I make it out with Mr. Peck's 5th graders for a wildflower hike. Most times we head out the door, up Ski Hill Drive to, you guessed it, "Ski Hill." With a seven and a half kilometer loop I've skied conservatively a couple thousand times, I know pretty much every inch of the trails and forest here. It's good to get out with the kids. This year we found something quite amazing, actually: the white trillium. This might be the coup de grace of all of the northwest's wildflowers. It's protected. It's brilliant. If you find one, it's always in the shade not far from a source of water. Yet here it is, blooming in the middle of the alpine hill in the hottest, most exposed piece of Ski Hill property. A rare find.
The crew before the afternoon hike higher up on the trails. They might be all smiles now, but some were hurting like you couldn't believe before we made it back to where we began. I think they needed the oxygen more than any other science problems.
I can't forget to tell you about track season. The Mountain Lions of Icicle River are in decent form, and I have been fortunate to rake a couple jumping pits this spring. My jump knowledge is passable at best, but after watching a couple U of Oregon made Dellinger videos that specialize on the events I think I steered the crew in the right direction.
In the reading department I'm fortunate to have come across a copy of the John Carlos Story. I'd put this down as an absolute must-read. Buy it or borrow it, but definitely read it. Reading Mr. Carlos' words, you get the very real sense that people don't just get in trouble for doing something bad or wrong. You can also get in trouble because you stand up for ideas and principles that challenge people in power. 40 years ago, Tommie Smith and John Carlos had something very real to say. To think for themselves and to make a sign of hope, no matter the personal cost took courage. Great courage. I'm glad they had this within them.

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