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  • Writer's pictureBruce Siebold

Retreat From The Cliff

There is a special place on Eighty Acres known as THE CLIFF. It is a high point on the land, and offers a beautiful panoramic view of the rich Rusk Prairie farmland. Gazing south, two miles away you would see the edge of Menomonie's industrial park and to the north your eyes would spot a rolling ridge of oak hardwoods and a pine plantation. It is on the cliff you will often find me with camera in hand, sitting on the bench, enjoying the western sky as the sun bids its final goodbye.

The bench has seen its better days. An old not so comfortable hand-me-down that has become a collection of rusting metal and rotting wood slats. But today I will not be sitting on the bench. The sun is shining but the temperature hovers near zero with a wind chill of minus 20. The trees cast their long shadows across the wind sculptured snow, but the beauty doesn't take away the harsh unforgiving Wisconsin winter. My body shivers. I shake my numbing fingers and wiggle my toes. Turning my back to the cutting winds, I pull my mask over my frost bitten face, and with each breath my vision is blurred by the fog that creeps over my glasses. Any foolish idea of sitting and enjoying today's sunset is quickly carried away by the angry northwest winds.

I think of home. The crackling fire in the wood stove, The warm feeling from a good bourbon. My fleece lined UGG slippers, Today the high ground belongs to the Earth Mother. I shamelessly turn my snowshoes around and retreat towards the comforts of home, I will be back, but today I surrender! Winter has won today's battle.

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