Art by mail: Extreme Wisconsin geology

Postcard collage of glacial geology, the St. Croix River, and man on stand-up paddleboard thing

Message on postcard:
Hi Kate! Greetings from Berkeley, California, where I’m laid up a friend’s apartment recovering from a wild boar attack. The picture on this postcard is of the St. Croix River on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, I think. It was beautiful when I was out there earlier this summer and the water was high, before drought took hold in the Midwest.

My grandfather lived much of his life in a tiny town called Marine on St. Croix, and I visited his grave in the town’s tiny cemetery. I remember when I was a kid when my grandfather died; I was 12 or 13 years old, and it was the first death in the family I had to deal with. I was up late awake, crying in bed, when my dad came into my room to comfort me. It was his dad who’d just died, and he told me he remembered when his grandfather had died when he was a kid. I quieted down, expecting that he would say more, but that’s all there was, and just that much was all it took for me to find enough quiet to calm down.

My family was out here in California when I was attacked by the boar, and when I was in the emergency room worried about keeping my legs, my dad was there and knew the right thing to say. I don’t remember what it was, probably because of the morphine and the subsequent general anesthesia, but I told him about how what he had said when his dad died had helped me out … but thinking about it now I wonder if it’s not so much about hearing the right thing, but having the right person there to talk to you.

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