Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An almost-summer evening on the farm June 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:47 AM
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The sun sets on the farm site where I grew up in southwestern Minnesota.

OH, SWEET EVENING of almost-summer on my childhood farm. Daylight fades, washing the sky in the palest of prairie rose pink. Shadows sharpen before the last lingering rays of sunlight retire for the night.

Underneath the branches of the sturdy old tree, which once sheltered a long-gone farmhouse and a tractor-tire sandbox, the cousins and siblings, ranging in age from 11 to 25, one-by-one grab double ropes, straddle a car tire and ask for a push.

My 11-year-old nephew and a tire swing...

And then they are swinging through the air, spinning nearly out of control, dodging danger in a tree trunk, wisps of hair flying, smiles as wide as the prairie sky, until, finally, they plead for someone, anyone, to stop the dizzy-inducing carnival ride.

My oldest daughter...

...discovers joy on a tire swing...

...far from her big city home, in the place she calls "the middle of nowhere..."

...and sometimes "nowhere" can be as much fun as Minneapolis on an almost-summer evening.

Oh, sweet evening of almost-summer on the farm, when I grip my camera, dodge the swaying tire to capture the moments, to vicariously relive the exuberance of tipping my head back, catching the wind as I ride the tire swing. I feel the twirling, dizzy oblivion through the lens of my camera, wishing I could grasp the ropes, straddle the tire, stretch my toes heavenward and tickle the belly of the sky.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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