One of our very favorite things on the Carleton campus is "Twigonometry," a beautiful piece of public sculpture that's simultaneously Earthy and otherworldly. (A Carleton librarian has Flickr'd a nice set of photos of the work.) Julia has been in love with Twigonometry since she saw it the first time, when she called it "Nests." Since then it's been "the Big Sculptures." We have visited it at least once a week since we moved here last December, not least because the individual pieces allow anyone - but especially toddlers - to walk through them, making them great for hide and seek or just for pretending to find mousies and kitties.

Alas: this spring Twigonometry started to fall down. Put up in 2002, it was only supposed to last two years, so it's had a good run. Today, Carleton had a public farewell party for the sculptures. We went to enjoy a popsicle or three, write (and color) a farewell note, and walk through them one last time. Julia even waved goodbye quite appropriately.

That's not all, though. It turns out - as my boss and the college's curator both, separately, told me - that the whole event was staged because the sculptures were so deeply loved by one Northfield resident: Julia! I had told my boss several times how much she liked to troop through the sculptures, so when he got a note from the higher-ups about the work's imminent demise, he asked what, ideally, I thought the college should do. I mumbled something about having a chance to say goodbye, meaning we'd like to know when the pieces were going to disappear, mostly so that we could visit one last time and avoid the heartache of finding, one day, empty spots on the ground. Being the superlatively good citizen he is, he conveyed this upstairs. Lo and behold, a month later, 100 people showed up in 95-degree heat to salute the late, great Twigonometry. All at a toddler's word! Things like this indicate just how easy it is to work at Carleton.

Still and all, I'll dearly miss seeing the sculptures. And so will Julia.

email: christopher at tassava dot com