Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Chalking poetry April 29, 2013

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FOR WEEKS I’VE WANTED to chalk poetry onto the sidewalk past my house in celebration of National Poetry Month in April.

But not until today, April 29, did sunny and dry weather finally allow for chalking.

A week ago six inches of snow fell, for gosh sakes. Rain fell early yesterday evening.

The first two parts of my illustrated poem.

The first three lines of my illustrated poem.

After sweeping winter sand from several sections of sidewalk, I scouted for the box of chalk in the garage then proceeded to print my poem:

Cold earth warmed
by budding sun
sprouts the seeds
of vernal equinox

Two springs ago, this poem published on four billboards as part of the Roadside Poetry Project in Fergus Falls.

I thought my poem particularly fitting for re-publication this morning on my sidewalk.

Poetry 2

The entire poem, plus “In celebration of National Poetry Month” tacked onto the end.

So if you are walking past my house, take note, read and enjoy.

Before the rain, or snow, washes away my poetry. And, yes, snow is apparently in the forecast for later this week, so two friends tell me.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


How I spent my first weekend of spring

Perennials are finally popping through the earth.

Perennials are finally popping through the earth in my yard.

SPRING OFFICIALLY SPRANG in southern Minnesota this weekend.

Yes, readers. No snow. Temps in the 70s, maybe even 80s. I should know, but I was too busy to check.

Flip flop weather, for sure.

Sunshine and windows thrown wide open to vent the stale winter air from the house.

Most of my weekend I labored outside, trying to make up for lost time, for all those weekends when snow and cold prohibited any sort of outdoor work.

I raked these leaves from backyard flower beds. Look at that lawn and the hillside. No snow. Anywhere.

I raked these leaves from backyard flower beds. Look at that lawn and the hillside. No snow. Anywhere.

I raked leaves from perennial flower beds.

And when I wasn’t raking, I was sanding a table for our son who moves into a Rochester apartment a week after my husband and I retrieve him from college in Fargo. He’s interning with IBM. The oak table, purchased at a thrift store for a song, needed refinishing.

Compare the two table halves, the left side stripped and sanded, the right side top, not.

Compare the two table halves, the left side stripped and sanded, the right side top, not.

Smokers owned the table. Do not ever, I repeat, ever, purchase a table owned by anyone who smoked cigarettes. Do you know how difficult it is to remove cigarette smoke odor and tar and nicotine build-up from wood? Nearly impossible.

I sanded the skin right off tiny sections of two fingers from the hours, and I do mean hours, I sanded. Take that times two, because Randy worked side-by-side with me. All the while I was thinking, if this cigarette-exposed wood looks like this, imagine a smoker’s body inside and out.

Lecture finished for today.

The Frankoma teapot I purchased.

The Frankoma teapot I purchased. There’ s a slight chip in the lid handle.

On the way to the paint store to purchase supplies for that table refinishing project, I stopped at a garage sale and picked up a beautiful Frankoma teapot. I seldom drink tea, but I loved the artful shape and simple style of this collectible.

As a bonus, Mike, the guy having the garage sale, told me about all the old Mason and other fruit jars he buys and rents out for weddings and/or sells after I noticed an oversized blue jar for sale.. Since my eldest daughter is getting married this fall and mentioned perhaps using fruit jars for flowers, I was interested. So Mike took me inside his old stone house and showed me his boxes upon boxes of jars.

Although the jars initially drew me inside, they were not the find of the day. In the corner of Mike’s living room stood a deer. Yes, readers, a deer. Dead, of course, and mounted. An entire deer, not just the head, although several deer heads are suspended from walls, too.

Totally creeped me out and I told Mike that. He may have laughed. I so regret leaving my camera at home.


Spring, grill

My husband grills year round, so there’s nothing unusual about him grilling this weekend. But focus on that landscape. No snow. Anywhere.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling