Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Tears on a Tuesday April 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:20 AM
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BETWEEN FORKSFUL of the ultimate comfort food, homemade mac and cheese, I am crying. Not just tears, but great sobs that heave my shoulders, force me to remove my eyeglasses, cause me to place my head between my hands, elbows resting upon the table.

Issues of the day—anger and disappointment, worry and concerns—have welled up within me to this bursting point of emotions.

My husband sits in silence, forking mac and cheese into his mouth while the torrent of words and tears releases. I wonder what he is thinking. Perhaps that his wife has momentarily lost it.

Sometimes, though, it is good to cry, to let it all out, to be true to yourself and how you are feeling.

I tell him, too, that I feel, in this moment, as grey as the day in this longest of Minnesota winters. I want to run away from the snow and the cold and the gloom, all of it. And I think then of my mother who occasionally uttered similar despair, her desire to just run away, away from the pressing responsibilities of raising six children. Her issues are not mine. And the concerns I feel on this day are not all that major, but too much for me on this Tuesday.

So, after supper, after the left-over comfort food has been scooped into a container and tucked into the refrigerator, after I’ve washed the dishes, I suggest a walk at the local nature center. I grab my camera, slip into my Sorels, pull a stocking cap onto my head, zip my sweatshirt.

Entering River Bend Nature Center, I eye the next-door prison with seemingly infinite scrolls of razor wire unfolding before me. The site is disconcerting. I am always troubled by the prison’s presence right next to the nature center.

But as our car follows the road that dips and curves past the pond and the woods and then zooms down the hill to the center’s parking lot, I can feel the easing of tension in my shoulders.

Deer cluster in the woods at Riverbend Nature Center, Faribault.

Deer cluster in the woods at River Bend Nature Center, Faribault.

Then my husband spots the deer clustered in and on the edge of the woods and I slip from the car, leaving the door ajar so I can photograph them.

For the next hour there are no tears, no hurried worried words or thoughts, in this place of serenity.

These corn-fed deer show little fear.

These corn-fed deer show little fear.

Curious brown-eyed deer. Heads turned toward me, radar ears on alert.

Leaping across a path near the nature center parking lot.

Leaping across a path near the nature center parking lot.

Graceful leap of legs. The click of the shutter.

Last year's nest...

Last year’s nest…

Along the muddied trails, reflections of bare trees in puddles and promises of spring in green moss on dead logs. Last season’s nests bared by bare branches.

Geese on the prairie pond.

Geese on the prairie pond.

The trill of birds and the bark of geese in the swampland pond. Ripples in water. Golden sun setting. The swatch of red on a blackbird’s wings.

And in the prairie a weaving tunnel trail in the brown earth and the memories of this place waving in summer-time wildflowers and tall grass.

Day fades into evening at the nature center.

Day fades into evening at the nature center.

Here I find promise and hope in my evening of despair.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling