Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

On the road to Fargo, where sky meets land February 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:07 AM
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Only 192 miles to Fargo, North Dakota. We've already driven 93.

SKY. That single word defines a road trip from Faribault to Fargo.

Don’t talk miles and time to me. Talk sky.

Once past the St. Cloud exit along Interstate 94, you start noticing the sky, how, the farther west you travel, the larger it becomes until the sheer immensity of that above overwhelms that below.

Sky meets land somewhere westbound along Interstate 94 toward Fargo.

For those who live in the confines of the city, where buildings and masses of streets and highways pull the sky downward and ground it, the vastness of the skies can unsettle the spirit and create a sense of vulnerability. You can’t help but feel exposed under brooding clouds and a sky that stretches into a distance without end.

Interstate 94 sometimes seems to run right into the sky as you drive west.

Yet, for me, a prairie native, there’s a certain sense of calm that comes from traveling into the sky. Because that is what you do when driving west from Minnesota toward the Dakotas. You drive into the sky.

After an initial awareness that you really are incredibly small compared to that above, you begin to notice the details. Or at least I begin to appreciate the details—like the hard edge where sky meets land, the ever-changing skyscape as clouds shift and the day wanes, the nuances in colors and texture that define firmament and field.

Power lines set against the backdrop of the sky provide a visual vertical respite for the eyes.

It is as if you’ve brushed yourself right into a landscape painting.

And I can’t get enough of it, of the strong horizontal lines that sweep across my vision, reconnecting me to my prairie past.

The landscape: flat and into forever near Fargo/Moorhead.

The ever-changing clouds blend with the rural landscape.

As the sun sets, the sky broods.

The sharp contrast of black and white against blue pleases my eyes.

Fence lines and farms slice through the land.

A church spire in the distance draws my eye in this place where my soul reconnects to the prairie.

ALL OF THESE IMAGES were taken with my DSLR camera, set at a fast shutter speed, while traveling along Interstate 94. Check back for more posts from this trip to Fargo.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


8 Responses to “On the road to Fargo, where sky meets land”

  1. Melinda Says:

    I loved this post. My mom grew up in North Dakota and spent summers in Minnesota. Growing up, we made the road trip from Oregon to North Dakota, Minnesota and then on to Wisconsin and Illinois every summer. I forwarded this post to my mom as she has made millions of trips on this stretch of highway!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks for stopping by from Oregon, Melinda, and for passing this post along to your mom. I’ll be posting more photos from that journey along I-94 to Fargo. So stop on back.

  2. Kristin Says:

    I look forward to reading more about the trip!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      It went really well. BTW, it was great to see you when you were in Minnesota, although I wish the circumstances had been different.

  3. Ok, you’re helping me with my flat land prejudice. There’s beauty out there!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, indeed. I’m glad you’re seeing the beauty. I have more photos to show you this week. So check back for more flat land images.

  4. paddyro Says:

    I really enjoy your photos and getting a glimpse of everyday America. Have you had an easier than normal Winter? there doesn’t look to be too much snow around. Patrick

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are right. This has been an extremely mild winter with very little snow. The Fargo area actually had more snow than southeastern and central Minnesota, although not much. However, last night we got several inches.

      Thanks for stopping by Minnesota Prairie Roots. I love sharing stories and photos from everyday life in America.

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