Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Prairie lines April 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:31 AM
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Crisp, straight roof lines define buildings on this farm site along U.S. Highway 14 just minutes west of Springfield in southwestern Minnesota.

I NEVER TIRE of the crisp lines that cut across the southwestern Minnesota countryside. The razor sharp edge of a barn roof. The thick, defined rails of train tracks. The precise spacing of orderly crop rows.

This rich farmland, more familiar to me than any place on this earth, has always been defined by lines. It is the visual perspective I hold of this land that holds my heart.

Crop lines along U.S. Highway 14 west of Springfield in a field that awaits planting.

I cannot view this prairie place without seeing those strong, bold and definitive horizontal lines.

It is the expanse of the sky and of the land in this visually uncluttered place that naturally draws my eyes to rest upon the lines, to lock onto a spot that connects me to a concrete object or to the earth.

This barn stands strong and sturdy between Sleepy Eye and Springfield along U.S. Highway 14.

Consider this perspective the next time you travel through western Minnesota. Forget your preconceived notion of this as a place you simply must pass through to get from point A to point B. View the land and the sky, the small towns and the farm sites, the endless vistas with your eyes wide open, appreciating all that unfolds before you.

A farm site with a smiley face on the barn, between Sleepy Eye and Springfield.

Just west of Springfield off U.S. Highway 14, a gravel road and an orange snow fence cut horizontal lines across the prairie as do the low-slung farm buildings.

A pastoral hillside scene on the edge of Courtland along U.S. Highway 14.

Railroad tracks edge past this farm site along U.S. Highway 14 between Essig and Sleepy Eye. To the right in the photo, a tractor awaits the planting season.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling