Hi. My name is Kate Wallace and I'm a photographer, graphic designer, and writer.

I went to the College of Saint Benedict for a liberal studies major with an emphasis on graphic design. Three years later I decided that wasn't enough and got a master's degree in mass communications.

I like the creative side of logistics. There are many times when I identify with being a left-brainer, then there are other times when I completely understand the right side of my brain. I may not be a very innovative graphic artist, but I am definitely a graphic designer. I love to write creative non-fiction and revel in the rules of punctuation and spelling. Photography combines the artistic and the logistics in everything about it.

Take a look; have a peek; chance a glance.

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It’s Super
or how I came to hold an angel in my hand

Big Christmas lights are the best. When I was four, my favorite holiday was Christmas. The over stimulation of my senses was just too much to ignore: the presents, the tree, the colors, even the snow. One of the first highlights came when my dad brought out the Christmas lights to string the evergreen trees outdoors. Not the small, twinkly white lights you buy nowadays. We're talking the huge Christmas lights: one-and-a-half-inch-long colored bulbs. They weren't pansy lights - they were tough. They had to be. It's darn cold outside in Minnesota Decembers, and if I remember correctly, it was colder when I was four than it is now. The big bulbs were tough and durable on the surface, but once lit up, the tough essentials melted away and brightness remained.

We crunched through the snow: my dad in his shoes and I in my pink foam Kmart boots, hopping in the big footprints left by my dad in the half-foot deep snow. My mom had bundled me up so all I could do in the cold was hop in shoe-holes and wave my arms around like a marshmallow person. Mom didn't realize that I wanted to help. After connecting four orange extension cords and the string of lights, we unwound the mess on our way to the first evergreen. Through frosty breath, I watched my dad plow through the snow around one of the three Colorado Blue Spruces being transformed. Snow fell in clumps as he pushed the lights to where they needed to be, deep in the branches of the tree.

Trying to be helpful, I hobbled over to brush snow from the lower branches. The string running through my coat sleeves binding my mittens together cut across my back as I reached down. It also didn’t help that I could barely move in my bundled state. I ended up being more of a hindrance than help as my dad tripped over me, grabbing the tree for support. I ended up watching him string the other two, well out of the way as he shoved the strings of lights in the branches, winding around the tree. In one afternoon, my dad had put lights on three spruces. It was an amazing feat.

That night, my dad plugged in the orange electrical extension cord that eventually connected to the trees. They lighted up, piercing the December darkness with blips of red, blue, green, and orange, a wonderful, colorful mess. Looking back, I wonder why the electrical outlet didn't combust or explode; the electric bills must have been horrendous. The colors stood out in the darkness and reflected off the white surrounding the trees, so they looked like they had low-lying halos. They sparkled and shined more than little white bulbs could ever attempt to. The big bulbs made the trees radiate.

As the trees glowed, I wanted to see them up close, to see the individual parts of the whole. The lighted trees were at the end of our long, sloped, icy driveway. Not exactly a hill, but it made for a slippery walk to the trees. I trucked down the driveway, slipping only once, then came upon a glowing tree, its holy light spreading around it in a dissipating circle on the snow. I disrupted the clean smoothness of the surrounding snow, tromping in my pink foam boots, and reached within touching distance of the lights. I knelt in the snow in front of the tree and looked at the bulbs sitting peacefully on the dark green-blue needles of the spruce tree and the wonderful whiteness of snow on the needles. I thought maybe the bulbs would be so hot they would melt the snow, but no.

The big bulbs shined. Some of them had chipped paint so that bright white light peeked through the red, green, blue, and orange and tugged at my eye until I was forced to focus solely on the little white spot. I took my right hand out of its mitten, leaving the mitten to dangle from its string, and I grabbed a red bulb, feeling its warmth emanate from inside the bulb to my cold hand. When my hand was warm, I let go and slid my hand back in my waiting mitten. I positioned the bulb back on the snowy needles, then ran as best I could back up the driveway. My hand was still warm from the bulb, and I felt like I had just touched an angel.

I reached the top of the driveway and bounded up the steps as best I could to where my dad was waiting, his arms crossed over his chest to stave off the cold. He turned off the porch light, and together we watched the tree lights for a while before going inside the warm house where hot chocolate was waiting. The big bulbs made the otherwise ordinary tree become something holier than it was, something that little lights could never do. And my dad and I made it happen.