Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Learning to appreciate “the Cities” December 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:49 AM

The downtown Minneapolis skyline as seen from the windshield of our family car on Thanksgiving evening.

I ABSOLUTELY AM NOT a city girl. For years, even the thought of going up to or through “the Cities,” meaning Minneapolis and St. Paul and adjoining suburbs, has unnerved me. I dislike the traffic, the tall buildings, the cement, the busyness that overloads my senses.

But slowly, I am coming around, and I have my oldest daughter to thank. She now lives in south Minneapolis and works in St. Paul. That means trips to “the Cities” have been more frequent, although I still don’t go there all that often.

On Thanksgiving, my family and I were driving home from Champlin when, much to even my surprise, I looked toward the downtown Minneapolis skyline to my left and proclaimed it beautiful. My other daughter, who was sitting in the backseat, wasn’t sure she’d heard me correctly.

Yes, I repeated, the setting sun was bathing the buildings in an ethereal glow nothing short of stunning. Wanting to capture the image, I struggled to pull my camera from the camera bag at my feet. But by then, my husband was already driving down a hill and the picturesque moment was lost. So I imprinted the image in my memory and shot a few frames anyway.

I snapped this image as we drove under a freeway overpass near downtown Minneapolis.

A slow shutter speed produced this surreal image of the downtown Minneapolis skyline through the windshield of our moving car Thanksgiving evening.

SEVERAL DAYS LATER, I shared with an uncle, who lives in south Minneapolis, how much our family enjoyed a recent visit to St. Paul. We toured the Capitol, the Minnesota History Center and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. I took in a musical at The Ordway.

“Mom likes the Cities,” my second daughter interjected, somewhat sarcastically I thought.

“St. Paul doesn’t seem like a big city to me,” I quickly clarified lest anyone misunderstand.

Then my uncle suggested I come up to Minneapolis and tour the American Swedish Institute which, he explained, is decorated in the Swedish tradition for the holidays.

It sounds tempting. “Can I take pictures there?” I asked. That can be a determining factor in whether I am willing to go to “the Cities.”

Crazy, huh? But, at heart, I’m still a Redwood County farm girl who prefers fields and wide open spaces to concrete and crowded buildings.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling