Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

I’ll take country over big city any day August 5, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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Approaching downtown Minneapolis. Growing up on a southwestern Minnesota dairy and crop farm, I would travel with my parents and siblings once a year to visit relatives in Minneapolis. We got off at the 46th Street exit.

Approaching downtown Minneapolis. Growing up on a southwestern Minnesota dairy and crop farm, I would travel with my parents and siblings once a year to visit relatives in Minneapolis. We got off at the 46th Street exit. Thankfully lanes have been added since then. But I don’t understand that sign on the left: “RATE TO DOWNTOWN $ AT 42ND.” Whenever I see these signs entering the Cities, I wonder.

I CAN’T RECALL THE LAST TIME I’ve been in downtown Minneapolis. But it’s been more than 30 years since I’ve walked in the heart of the city and I have no intention of visiting anytime soon.

Almost to the I94/35W split near downtown Minneapolis.

The I94/35W split near downtown Minneapolis.

The big city is not for me. Give me wide open space and sky and fields and farms and small towns.

Give me horizontal, not vertical.

Minneapolis presents a photogenic skyline from afar.

Minneapolis presents a photogenic skyline as my husband and I bypass the downtown on our way to visit family in the metro.

Give me alfalfa or soybeans or a cornfield, not concrete and asphalt parking lots and buildings so tall I need to visually strain my eyes to see their tops.

I need to breathe, to see the horizon, to touch the earth.

Oh, you might advise me that I am missing out on cultural and unique dining experiences and whatever else the big city offers. Maybe. But I’ve found my own happiness in “outstate Minnesota,” as the geographical region outside the metro is termed. That moniker, even though I sometimes use it, seems to diminish the importance of anything outside the Twin Cities area.

I am thankful, however, that we don’t all like living in the same place. If that was the situation, there would be no rural, only metro. Or only rural and no cities. That, of course, is oversimplifying, but you get my point. We all crave different environments. That is a good thing.

The curving interstate and speeds of some vehicles can give the illusion of being on a racetrack.

The curving interstate and speeds of some vehicles can give the illusion of being on a racetrack.

I will always prefer a country gravel road over the racetrack craziness, or gridlock, depending, of a Twin Cities area interstate.

A gravel road just north of Lamberton in southwestern Minnesota.

A gravel road just north of Lamberton in southwestern Minnesota. File photo.

But that’s me, deeply rooted in rural Minnesota.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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26 Responses to “I’ll take country over big city any day”

  1. Dan Traun Says:

    I agree – it is good that people like to inhabit different places. Wide open country vs. the concrete jungle. I am OK with working in a large city, but prefer the slower pace of smaller town living.

    • The traffic congestion is what I most dislike about the Twin Cities, although on the weekend day we drove through the metro, the traffic was not too bad. A few crazy drivers, though, always make for some unpleasantness.

  2. BradG Says:

    While reading your post, the theme song from Green Acres kept rolling through my head!

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    At least during the week the drivers are on their “normal” pathways (work, etc). On the weekends it’s a “free for all” with everyone headed out on more unfamiliar routes, at break-neck speeds (why????). Evenings/weekends the car numbers skyrocket due to the fact that every family member has their own car and is “out there”!!! Eek!!! Give me little ‘ole Winona, LaCrosse or Rochester (even that last is a might on the ‘big’ side!!!!)!!!!

  4. Kristen K Says:

    I agree! My roots run deep here in Southern Minnesota.

  5. I’ve been in Minneapolis twice and could care less if I ever go back. I’d drive the back roads. Ha that sounds like a country song. Have a great day.

  6. Love that you know in your heart what is home for you :) I am a modern day gypsy and can do the big city to urban to suburbia to the country – pretty much wherever as long as my greatest someone is right beside me. Happy Tuesday!

  7. Jackie Says:

    I grew up in the country in a house, not on a farm but with farmland and livestock all around us. I love country roads, barns, silos, quiet, and simplicity that goes with the country. The big city (Rochester) was just 5 miles north of us and over the years it’s grown to 100,000. Big, but not that big when compared to the Twin Cities. I love to visit the cities but wouldn’t want to drive in it everyday, such hustle and bustle are not for me. Give me a gravel road that leads to no-where and I am in my glory!

  8. I like both. For everyday living, I would never go back to city life. Way too noisy and congested. If fact, my mediumish small town is getting to be too crowded for me. I yearn to look out my window, even just one, and NOT see someone else’s house or garage. Now that would be the life.

  9. hotlyspiced Says:

    Thank you for showing me some images of Minneapolis. I hadn’t seen that cities skyline before. I have friends who live in the country and they always feel out of place and can’t wait to get back to the country. I must say, whenever I spend some time in a rural area I always dread having to return to the city xx


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