Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

No April Fool’s: Sixty degrees, then snow & tornadoes April 1, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

THEY THRONGED TO RIVER BEND Nature Center Sunday afternoon.

Walking the trails.

Walking the trails, this a rare one that wasn’t snow-covered and icy.

More warm weather outdoor enthusiasts than I’ve ever seen at this nearly 750-acres of woods, prairie and water on Faribault’s east side.

Handcrafted signs guide visitors along trails.

Handcrafted signs guide visitors along trails.

Bare-headed baby tucked in mother’s arms. Elementary-aged boy in helmet zipping his scooter down a tarred path. Elderly couple snugged on a bench.

Trees tapped to collect sap in bags.

Trees tapped to collect sap in bags.

Folks clustered around an evaporator that cooked freshly tapped maple syrup.

Kids played in the water with sticks similar to this scene.

Kids played in water with sticks similar to this scene.

A trio of kids crossing a stick bridged across a rush of water.

A family picnicking.

Guy in shorts; boy in snowpants.

Abdi studies by the swamp.

Abdi studies by the swamp.

Abdi, a native of Ethiopia, benched by the swamp/pond studying for his medical lab class in the quiet of nature, away from his noisy apartment building.

A 20-something teaching archery to kids just outside the interpretive center.

And us, threading our way along still icy trails, slushing through melting snow. Me, grabbing my husband’s hand to keep from slipping, his snow boots gripping the ice, mine not.

Patches of green grass mingle under water with dead leaves.

Patches of green grass mingle under water with dead leaves.

My eyes grasping for green and finding it in patches of emerging grass.

The brightest green discovered--moss on a log.

The brightest green discovered–moss on a log.

Green moss on dead logs.

The tiniest of green plants poking through the dormant prairie grass.

A snippet of green cedar upon snow.

A snippet of green cedar upon snow.

Searching for signs of spring.

Trees reflected in a "lake" of water from the snow melt.

Trees reflected in a “lake” of water from the snow melt.

Finding it in watercolor paintings.

I've never seen this much water roaring over the nature center waterfall.

I’ve never seen this much water roaring over the nature center waterfall.

Water roaring over limestone in a three-tied waterfall.

Water rushes down a trail.

Water rushes down a trail.

Slogging through water, with grass and dead leaves squishing beneath our boots.

Sunday and sixty degrees. Glorious. Spring.

And then came blizzards (northern Minnesota) and tornadoes (southwestern Minnesota) on Monday with temps plunging into the 20s and 30s overnight.  A wind advisory remains in effect until 10 a.m. today for a portion of Minnesota sweeping from southwest/central to southeast with sustained winds of 25 – 35 mph topping at 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

No April Fool’s.

FYI: According to an article in The Marshall Independent, a twister was sited near Taunton Monday afternoon with structural damage from the storm reported five miles north of Minneota. On Monday, a tornado warning and a blizzard warning were issued simultaneously for a portion of southwestern Minnesota.

In Yellow Medicine County, the West Central Tribune of Willmar reports structural damage from a tornado at three farm sites southeast of St. Leo.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling