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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Fiscal cliff
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About this blog
By Gary DeNeal
Gary DeNeal is the editor and publisher since 1985 of Springhouse, a bi-monthly magazine focusing on the history and lore of southeastern Illinois.
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April 17, 2014 7:19 p.m.
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Dec. 14, 2012 10 a.m.



These days it’s fiscal cliff this, fiscal cliff that. All that fevered talk is enough to send a reasonably sane person over the edge.

When I think of cliffs, I think of hiking with my friend in the Garden of the Gods country. That was in October 1958. I think of bright leaves and a breeze that was just right. There we were, on a ledge and we couldn’t turn back, and I was scared beyond words almost as to what the next step might bring. The worst part of it was, that step had to be taken. For a moment stretched until it all but twanged, the leaves, the birdsong, the near perfection of the afternoon were almost too bright to bear. Whether it was the beginning of something or the end of everything would only be determined by that next step.

I took it.

Who would have dreamed 55 years later another cliff would appear, this one frightening  just about everybody, not merely a  14 year old with limited rock climbing skills who found himself being urged along  by  his even more adventurous hiking companion?

The afternoon I stepped forth, my luck held. I did not fall.  Shaking, I heard my companion say I made him proud. Listening to his words of praise, I vowed never to be “brave” again, unless there was good reason for it. I decided there and then that edges of cliffs were best kept framed by a camera lens.

You see, to me cliff is one of those words never spoken lightly.

Wiley Coyote in comic free fall only works in cartoons.

I would be happy if the words fiscal cliff could be made musty by placement in footnotes in out-of-date history books, a reminder in smallest print possible of the bad old days.

Sadly, such placement probably won’t happen.

As with the other kind of cliff, the scenic kind that is sandy and sun-baked and treacherous, fiscal cliff will probably remain in memory long after the bells ring in January 1, 2013.

 

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