Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Reflecting on Minnesota’s rural landscape November 5, 2013

Expansive sky and land inspire the poet in me. Photographed, as are all photos here, along Minnesota State Highway 60 between Faribault and Kenyon.

Expansive sky and land inspire the poet in me.

WHAT DRAWS YOUR EYE in a rural landscape?

Strong lines pull me in, lead me to wonder where that gravel road would take me.

Strong lines pull me in, lead me to wonder, “Where would that rugged gravel road take me?”

Or do you even notice your environment as you travel from point A to point B?

Noticing the geometry in these buildings clustered on a farm site.

I notice the geometry in these buildings, how they cluster and fit together on this farm site.

I challenge you, the next time you drive through rural Minnesota, or rural Anywhere, to truly see your surroundings. Don’t just look with glazed eyes. See. Once you see, you will appreciate.

A sense of history defines this farm in that strong barn which dominates.

A sense of history defines this farm in that strong barn which dominates and in the mishmash roof lines of the farmhouse. Both cause me to reflect upon my rural upbringing, upon my forefathers who settled 150 miles from here on the southwestern Minnesota prairie.

History, point in life, memories, even your mood on a given day, will influence how you view the rural landscape, what draws your focus.

I see here trees huddled, protecting and sheltering that house from the elements. My thoughts turn introspective at this scene.

I see trees huddled, protecting and sheltering that house from the elements, from that threatening sky. My thoughts turn introspective as I consider how we are all sometimes vulnerable and huddled, drawn into ourselves.

Whether a writer or photographer, architect or historian, teacher or retiree, stay-at-home mom (or dad), a farmer or someone in between, you will lock onto a setting that inspires creativity or prompts thought or perhaps soothes your soul.

There is much to be said for noticing details, for understanding that the miles between small towns are more than space to be traveled.

FYI: These edited images were photographed nine days ago while traveling along Minnesota State Highway 60 between Faribault and Kenyon. In just that short time, the landscape has evolved with crops harvested, trees stripped of their leaves by strong winds and now, today, snow in the forecast.

Β© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

33 Responses to “Reflecting on Minnesota’s rural landscape”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    You surely can see the changing landscapes this time of year, can’t you? I know this past weekend we still saw farmers out clearing fields and the landscape was changing right before our eyes. Details are important to note that is for sure.
    Hey–you got the Freshly Pressed logo on your sidebar without my help! Good for you!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The landscape here will be changing today as we are in a winter weather advisory with a snowfall of up to five inches predicted. I am so not ready for this.

      Yes, I see the Freshly Pressed logo is on my sidebar, but visible only when I click onto a post. What’s with that? A bit of tweaking needs to be done, me thinks.

      • Beth Ann Says:

        I think we are going to escape the snow today but we have a lot of frost out there this morning. Ugh. I am so not ready for it either.
        Hmm…that is weird that you only see it when you click on a post. I think you will figure it out!!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Do you see the logo on the sidebar all the time?

        Looks like the snow will stay north of Mason City.

      • Beth Ann Says:

        Nope—it was only on your post, not when I was on the main page. That is odd indeed.
        Looks like we may get some flurries tomorrow but nothing big and nothing like what you guys might get. Ugh.

  2. Mere Frost Says:

    I too notice everything when on the road. This is why I prefer to be the passenger! Kevin has the ability to look in every direction while driving! I think this is a highly honed skill from birth! I can’t do this! I would find myself off the road! I become way too engrossed πŸ˜‰
    Love the photos and enjoy your thoughts too!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Mere. The one thing that Randy always notices, that I seldom do, are hawks or eagles perched in trees. But he’s also good at directing me to interesting photo ops. Sometimes too late. But then we either turn around or I just pass the opportunity by.

      • Mere Frost Says:

        Kevin too, like Randy has an eagle eye! πŸ˜‰ But he is always looking at fields as we pass by! LOL I have some great shots of a bald eagle! So cool!!! Sometimes it is difficult to get a good shot. So fire away! πŸ˜€

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        I think it’s the farmer in your husband, always looking at fields. When I was growing up, we used to go for Sunday afternoon drives to “look at the crops.”

  3. Mere Frost Says:

    SNOW! Not here this time around! To the south of us they are saying. Yay! Still doing field work. Take care! I sure hope we don’t get any til after Thanksgiving this year! Not holding my breath though….

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I’ve purposely not checked/listened to the weather since early this morning. I do not want to hear the word SNOW. I hope your get all your field work done before the snow flies.

      • Mere Frost Says:

        I know what you mean! Kevin has to listen to the weather all the time. Tough to avoid it here! LOL

  4. Jackie Says:

    I…like you, am glued to the window looking at my surroundings. Gravel roads draw me to them, clumps of trees in the middle of fields lead me to think there probably used to be a farm home within that clump at one point (if still not there). The clouds….oh the clouds, I call them Minnesota clouds πŸ™‚ Oh, and the fields, I love seeing the progress from the itty bitty straight rows of corn busting through the soil to harvest time. One of my favorite things is watching the farmers “bring in the crops” it mesmerizes me. Your photos’s are beautiful Audrey, I never tire of beautiful country you bring to us.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You and I are so alike in how we think about rural Minnesota and how we photograph it. I always appreciate your images taken along those gravel roads.

  5. Thread crazy Says:

    No frost or snow for us today, but some much needed rain in the forecast. Over past couple of weeks we’ve been getting rain every couple of days and so thankful for that. With that being said, the changing temperatures are here and frost can’t be too far behind. I too enjoy watching the countryside while driving along, often thinking about theindividuals who live on the farms and places we pass along the way. Do you ever look up at an airplane and wonder what it’s destination might be? Gets your mind to dreaming.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I remember, as a kid, wondering about the jet trails in the sky. I haven’t thought about airplane destinations in a long time.

      There’s a certain comfort in driving the countryside, I think. More so for me since I left the land decades ago.

  6. Dorothy Bowman Says:

    To see your photos of the farm land are life warming. Everytime we drive to MN. I can’t help but watch the sky, trees, crops, lay of the land, and of course the farm buildings. Keep up the farm photos. Love to you.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      It’s great to hear from you, Aunt Dorothy. I know you miss Minnesota. And I miss you and Uncle Robin.

  7. Beautiful Captures – reminds me of being a carefree kid growing up on the farm:) Happy Tuesday!

  8. Ken Wedding Says:

    Really great photos. Thanks.

    (Found your blog after seeing your comments on Gary Sankary’s post.)

    Are you, by chance, related to Merlin Kletscher, a RFHS classmate of mine?

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks, Ken, and so happy you drifted my way via Sank’s blog.

      Yes, Merlin Kletscher is my uncle (my dad’s baby brother). What a small world. I also attended Redwood Falls High School, for two years (seventh and eighth grades) until Vesta (my hometown) voted to consolidate with the Wabasso School District.

  9. Ok. I like it. The photos, not the snow, which has just begun here. But it’s ok. It is. I have to believe that. πŸ™‚

  10. hotlyspiced Says:

    It’s lovely seeing how your landscape changes with the seasons. We don’t have swings of such extremes here in Oz so pretty much if I showed you a landscape image it would be difficult for you to tell whether it was taken in winter or summer. I’d love to experience your seasons one day xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Well, Charlie, you are welcome to Minnesota any day. Right now snow is falling, our first snowfall of the season.

      • Mere Frost Says:

        Morning! How much snow Audrey? Missed us. Although when I went out this am there were little flakes falling. Hope that is all it is! 😦

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        We got a light dusting of snow, just enough to cover the grass with the blades poking through.

        My mom lives in southwestern Minnesota. I don’t know exactly how much Vesta got, but nearby Milroy received 10.5 inches. Time to call my mom, I think.

      • Mere Frost Says:

        Oh No! That is way too much snow so early! Doesn’t bode well does it. Was in the single digits this morning. Currently in the low 40s but as soon as the sun drops and the wind picks up…uffda..stay warm!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        My mom reports 4 – 6 inches of snow in Vesta, considerably less than neighboring Milroy. The sun is melting the snow here, for which I am thankful.


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