Winter Solitude; Crossing The Plain and Pershing Sallyport by Paul Steucke
Morning snowflakes fall with silence that heightens our senses as it quiets our world. We wonder in awe at the change in landscape. Fall is beautiful, spring is joyous, summer is fun, but winter with fresh snow is dramatic. I was fortunate to be at the Academy when this seasonal phenomenon occurred. Like a small, excited child I raced outside at daybreak to be in it. Everything was covered. George Washington, MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Patton each had a mantle on their shoulders. The Plain was a vast smooth sea of white. There was no sound except the soft hiss of falling flakes. The superintendent's quarters carried a heavy load of fresh snow. A lone cadet, in the classic winter academy coat, passed silently by me. It was a breathtaking moment. My second opportunity came as I traveled through the old barracks courtyard and saw the massive wrought iron lamps on each side of the Pershing Sallyport. The stone walls of the Pershing Barracks, completed in 1895, were dusted with snow, which blew and sifted down in waves from above. There was no sound or activity except for one cadet passing through the Sallyport. I am honored that I have the opportunity to portray life at the Academy. It is a great institution with a student body, faculty, and staff that is inspiring to all.