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


11 Responses to “An almost-summer evening on the farm”

  1. Mark Ritchie Says:

    Very sweet posting – yes to tire swings – even if they are not over a cool stream or river!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you. There’s something about the simplicity of a tire swing that can’t be matched.

  2. Bernie Says:

    Audrey how amazing! That first picture is breath taking!! Wow! I l also love the one of your daughter, how part of it is in focus and part not. Every time you post a picture, I think that they can’t get any better and you come up with that sunset picture!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The lighting was beyond perfect when I shot these images. The color of the sky was an incredible, soft pink. Unfortunately I missed the actual setting of the sun. Sunsets on the prairie rank, in my opinion, as absolutely stunning.

      That close-up of my daughter’s face is also my favorite in this photo essay. I was not trying to achieve this part in focus, part out of focus, pic. It just turned out that way and I’m pleased. It captures her joy and the motion all rolled into one.

      Mostly I was trying to avoid getting hit by that tire swing.

  3. debbie Says:

    You bring back so many memories for me, good ones too! Days of doing just what your daughter is doing, swinging on a tire swing! What fun it was, and I still have one hanging in my back yard to this day for my kids and for my grandchildren to enjoy just like I did! Thank you for sharing and bringing back the memories!

  4. Gordon Says:

    Great post and great pics! The photos catch people having fun, and they sure brought a big grin to my face. Tire swings are the best. Oh, and just how much do they cost? Used rope and an old tire equals zero dollars. The tree is also necessary however.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Sometimes I just happen upon these simple moments that are the best and most memorable.

  5. Lynn Nienhuis Says:

    Such joy. I would love to draw a picture from your photo.

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