Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Oh, sweet, sweet first day of spring March 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:57 PM

Sap drips from a maple tree.

“IS TODAY THE FIRST day of spring?” I ask my husband this morning.

“I don’t know. Check the calendar,” he says.

Check the calendar, because you certainly can’t tell by the temperature here in southeastern Minnesota.

While earlier this week we were walking outside in shirt sleeves, today we are wearing our winter coats. We all knew those 60-degree temps are simply teasers to the reality of spring. Such is the fickleness of seasons in the northland.

Still, today was beautiful with sunny skies and the promise of warmer days to come.

I spent part of my day outdoors, in the country, learning about maple syrup making.

It felt good to walk under clear skies, the wind brushing briskly across my face, my boots sucking into the mud along a field road as I headed for a ravine dense with maple trees. As I dipped my finger into the clear, pure, raw sap and tasted its hint of sweetness, I thought, life really doesn’t get much better than this.

Yes, this was a very good day, this first day of spring.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

(Watch for a future blog post about making maple syrup.)


The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane, if the plane ever gets there

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 3:03 PM

“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”

“No, no hablo alemán. Hablo español.”

Perhaps the Faribault High School Spanish students on a spring break trip to Spain wish they spoke Deutsch (German).

The group, which includes my 16-year-old son, arrived this morning in Frankfurt, Germany, instead of Madrid, Spain.

OK then, how did this happen?

Well, the American Airlines plane, which they were supposed to take from Chicago to Miami Friday afternoon, was grounded due to mechanical problems.

Better to be on the ground with mechanical issues than in the air, I say.

But this caused all sorts of scheduling difficulties because the next plane out of Chicago left too late to catch the connecting flight to Madrid.

All of this I learned during three phone calls from my son around noon on Friday. Would they ever leave Chicago, I wondered. During his last call, he told me they were flying to Germany. Kind of the scenic route to get to their destination, isn’t it? But… I suppose sometimes there aren’t many options.

Finally, at 8:50 p.m. Friday, 10-plus hours after arriving in the Windy City, they began the trip to Frankfurt.

More than 24 hours later, I had heard nothing. No news is good news, I figure.

And I was right. Shortly after 2 p.m. today, the senior Spanish teacher’s husband called. The group had arrived at their hotel in cloudy, sometimes rainy, Madrid.

Now, maybe, just maybe, they can begin their European adventure–in the right country.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling