Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Seeking solace on a drive through rural Rice County January 21, 2014

The rural scene unfolds before us.

The rural scene, dominated by a blue sky, unfolds before us.

BLUE SKY STRETCHES before my husband and me as we traverse back gravel roads northwest of Faribault Sunday afternoon.

A drive along country gravel roads always uplifts me, no matter the season.

A drive along country gravel roads always uplifts me, no matter the season.

I yearn for this escape, for this reconnection to the land, this attempt to rejuvenate my spirit.

This scene

This scene inspires the poet in me.

Just being in the country calms my soul, brightens my outlook, causes me to pause and appreciate this land, this place God has created and given into our care.

Memories in this scene...

Memories in this scene…

In this moment, at this time, I slip into the past, envision myself laboring in the barns we pass. Soothing thrum of the milking machine. Cocooning warmth among cows snugged in mounds of golden straw. The comfort of ‘CCO radio.

I envision these fields seeded in corn or soybeans.

I envision these fields seeded in corn or soybeans.

In farm fields, I see a much younger and skinnier version of myself plodding between rows of soybeans to yank cockleburs on a scorching summer day.

The comfort of memories in a farm yard.

The comfort of memories in a farm yard.

At the sight of a farmyard, I hear my buckle overshoes crunch upon hard-packed snow as I follow the path from house to barn.

I imagine this field seeded in corn or soybeans.

An ocean of snow-washed land.

Memories unleash in this landscape, in the view of farmyards anchored into hillsides within an ocean of snow-washed fields.

A remnant of yesteryear in an old corn crib.

A remnant of yesteryear in an old corn crib.

I am happy here. Content. At peace.

Splashes of red jolt the blue and white landscape.

Splashes of red jolt the blue and white landscape.

Yes, even in this winter of too much cold and too many snowy days, I find solace in blue skies and sunshine, barns and white-washed fields.

The punctuation of a red wagon and its shadow stretching across the snow draw my attention.

The punctuation of a red wagon and its shadow stretching across the snow draw my attention.

FYI: To read my previous post featuring photos from this Sunday afternoon drive, click here.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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32 Responses to “Seeking solace on a drive through rural Rice County”

  1. Great photos and thoughts. I especially like the picture of the country gravel road and how we don’t know where it leads. We have a big hill behind our house, with the suggestion of nothing but wilderness on the other side. Your picture gives me the same feeling!

    • Thank you. This was an area of Rice County where I had not previously traveled, thus the sense of venturing into the unknown definitely existed. And you’re right about that hill, wondering what lies on the other side.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    The photos are wonderful but your word pictures are so much better!!!!!!

  3. Simply beautiful Audrey, and so soul-touching! So glad you posted this. Cheers!

  4. Beth Ann Says:

    As always you chose the perfect words to accompany your lovely pictures. Even though winter is not my favorite season I do appreciate the beauty that is all around during this time. I just get tired of it when the sub zero drags on and on and on and on…..

  5. More lovely countryside scenery. Beautiful day, blue sky and sunshine; hard to beat that.

  6. Yay, more beautiful pictures. Reminds me of the trip to my Grandparents farm. ITS LIKE HOME TO ME. Thanks for the smile you put on my face.

  7. Loving your captures – brings back the memories of the farm for me:) Happy Tuesday!

  8. LOVE that 3rd photo! Wow!

  9. Jackie Says:

    Lovely as always Audrey! Love the photo’s, love the words to describe your memories of your youth. Favorites are the gravel road….you know how I love those, and the white barn with the two silo’s 🙂

  10. hotlyspiced Says:

    Do you think we you retire you’ll go back to living on the land? It’s such a beautiful scene and so different (vastly) to what’s outside my kitchen window. I don’t know how you manage to drive along those frozen, icy roads; it looks perilous. But pretty and serene too xx


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