episodes from A HalfMan Dreamer  
David Matlin

A Single Thread

             Before the Pleistocene glacial advances the basins of the present in-land oceans were river valleys. Those streams drained mid-continent in a northeasterly flow matching present drainages of the seas that took their place. You can walk from the higher flattened plains above a lake to its edging Silurian and Devonian cliffs and marshes.  At glacial maximum the continent north of the Ohio and Missouri rivers was cast in ice ten thousand feet thick. The weight of such mass depressed planetary crusts at least three thousand feet and even now after fourteen thousand years earth in these parts clear to Hudson 's Bay is still in the process of a rebound. There's a kind of spookiness you feel standing at the shore of one of these oceans. A single mind can hardly grasp its wave cut cliffs, beaches of drift tree trunk and winds old enough even now to be considered leftovers from the ice-weight still gripping this land.  Wayward "lake-effect" snows thrown up by the local skies add a hundred inches to the hundred and seventy "normal" that visits these regions as if it were just this minute finally getting used to ice not being anywhere and wanting a comeback at an unforetold second that may have already happened. Some say the uncovering of this world is still so near, chaos and accident in their random productions havn't yet been able to transfer their work wholly over to the powers of sun and water. Pelagic winds created by these new oceans have built up a line of dunes on Michigan 's western shores and are the youngest accumulations of glacial sand. But there are ancient thirteen thousand year old sister dunes lying miles inland and which formed as the margins of ancestral lakes and glacial outwash plains when the levels of the shifting, unstable waters were much higher and the land was still crushed in retreating ice weight. These earliest deposits have stopped migrating because of forests now grown over them for at least twenty centuries. But nothing has been able to alter the sudden appearances of storms which build viciously and pull a Lake from one end to another causing oscillatory tides for a surfer with five to nine foot waves frothing out of what had only been minutes before an inviolable stillness to daub the surface with its harvest of bodies and if the glaciers don't come then sediment will from the largest oaks to the tallest fringe orchids. They'll be thirstier for these seas than a million Detroits and drink it all up in three hundred thousand years.

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