MY HUSBAND, SON and I traveled this weekend to my hometown of Vesta in southwestern Minnesota, the place that inspired the name for this blog, Minnesota Prairie Roots.
My roots run deep into this land, into the soil of Redwood County where I grew up on a dairy and crop farm. Although I left the farm 38 years ago at age 17, the fall after graduating from Wabasso High School, I still consider this home. It is the place that shaped who I became as a person and a writer.
It is the land that still inspires me in my writing and my photography.
Most Minnesotans don’t give this area of the state a second thought. In fact, I have discovered in my nearly 30 years of residing in Faribault, in southeastern Minnesota, that many residents of my community don’t know what lies west of Mankato. They think the state ends there.
That frustrates me to no end. In trying to explain the location of Vesta, I typically say “half way between Redwood Falls and Marshall on Highway 19.” Usually I get a blank stare. What more can I say?
They consider my hometown in the middle of nowhere. I don’t disagree with that. But I like the middle of nowhere. The prairie possesses a beauty unlike any other. The wind. The sky. The acres and acres of cropland punctuated by farm places and small towns appeal to me. They quiet my soul, uplift my spirit, connect to me in a way that I can’t explain.
This trip we were driving west in the evening, into the sunset. The ribbon of roadway between Morgan and Redwood Falls stretched into seeming infinity under a sky banded by clouds.
It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
What more can I say? I love my southwestern Minnesota prairie, the place that will always be my home, no matter where I live.
© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling