River of all my years, where it goes

“Today I took my seven-year-old son on a “secret mission” into Wisconsin and on the way home we made a brief stop at the spot where hwy. 35 crosses the St. Croix. We quietly waded out into the channel and marveled at the beauty of the place. “Where does this river go?” he asked. I told him exactly where and watched as his glance slowly moved from the opposite shore to downstream. I could almost hear his little gears turning.” – Commenter eric regarding the St. Croix and my recent misadventures at its source

It goes to a place where it is wider and deeper by a magnitude of a hundred than it is in those boulder-filled headwaters. Where on the weekends it is not a river of water rushing over rock but of speedboats navigating amongst water skiers and jet skis on choppy, windy water. Of cold beer and chips and swimming on sandbars.

The shores here are home to a few pines like they are there, but mostly they are thick with leafy trees. There are houses, cabins, docks and beaches; not as many as some would have it, but far more than in those wild and lonesome upper reaches.

This place is not far from where it gives its waters, which rise in the low bogs of that northern land, to the Mississippi. Many call it a lake here, as it broadens and slows before joining the Father of Waters. But, though this river might here have much in common with a lake, there is still one important difference: it is going somewhere.