As we were putting the finishing touches on last month’s issue of Voice of the River Valley, we received a submission from Michael Brandt of Arena that we’ve been looking forward to sharing with you. By way of introduction, Michael said: “A favorite poet of mine once remarked that we write ‘to win the love of strangers.’ I think this piece is somewhat the inverse of that. It expresses that in some way an especially dear soul won the love of a stranger who happens to write.”
The dear soul Michael wrote about is a young woman named Katie Binning. We never knew Katie, but we similarly always think about her when we drive a certain stretch of Highway 14 between Mazomanie and Black Earth. We’re grateful to Michael for sharing “On the Way Home” (see p. 9).
Bookending Michael’s piece is Kathy Madigan’s love letter to Marion Nelson’s Global View Gallery & Shop, which closes on Oct. 27 (see story, p. 5, and photo this page). As Kathy writes, “Letting go of Marion, Global View and Willow Gold is a Buddhist lesson in impermanence” — all that exists is fleeting; nothing lasts. We were privileged to know Marion, and have the utmost respect for those who have been working to maintain her legacy. Nonetheless, we hate to say goodbye.
And that’s the conundrum. We must be true to the values we hold dear. We must keep alive the memory of people who have left this life and events that have shaped us. Yet sometimes to be strong and mindful is to let go. Many of us are not yet ready to let go of summer’s memory, yet we yield to the exciting promises of fall. We hope the voices of all of this month’s contributors inspire you to grab hold of October and all it offers in our nook of the Driftless Area.