Sledding hill’s unrelenting prowess demands writer’s attention

Sledding hill's unrelenting prowess demands writer's attention
I catch a glimpse of the giant sledding hill out of the corner of my eye. Like armies of ants, children with sleds in tow march one-by-one, some two-by-two, as they make their way to the top.

Weighted down with winter gear, the ones going up step along, methodically in a vertical movement, while others fly by, as though with wings, landing at the bottom.

A muted energy rises from the sledding hill, a white ironlike sculpture that children flock to after a snow storm. With their saucers, toboggans, and plastic sleds, they carve deep lines in the hill's crusty face.

A moment in time brushes up against me, as I watch and recall the hours I spent sledding as a child. I relive the exhilarating tension that builds while fighting my way to the top with frozen ears, nose, fingers and toes. On my climb up, I pull and tug to reach her crest, while she puts up a fight, standing firm, making herself out to be a fearless foe, one to be conquered.

At the top, I catch my breath. Then, push off, giving in to the hill's power. Relinquishing my battle against her force, she takes me down. On the way, she transforms into the best of friends, making room for me, allowing me to fly without leaving ground, causing me to shout and scream and laugh.

I roll off my sled face down onto a crunching snow bed and quickly push up and onto my knees. She calls me back, taunting me, demanding my attention. Her unrelenting prowess drains life from my legs and lungs, as I climb to the top for more.

A resident of Southeast South Dakota for more than 30 years, Paula Damon is a popular columnist, keynote speaker, and freelance writer. Her column writing has won first-place national and state awards in The Federation of Press Women competitions. For more information, e-mail

Copyright � 2007 Paula Damon

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