Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The changing prairie view May 14, 2014

Newly-erected power lines, part of the Cap X2020 transmission line project, northwest of Morgan along Minnesota State Highway 67.

Newly-erected power lines, part of the Cap X2020 transmission line project northwest of Morgan along Minnesota State Highway 67, run seemingly into forever.

I FEEL ABOUT MONSTROSITY power lines as I do about wind turbines. I don’t appreciate their visual impact upon the land.

These towering giants, in my opinion, mar the landscape, distract and detract, cause me to feel small, unsettled and insignificant in their presence.

A farm site along Minnesota Highway 67 seems so small in comparison to the new transmission power poles.

A farm site along Minnesota State Highway 67 dwarfed by a new transmission power pole.

Perhaps it’s just the southwestern Minnesota prairie rooted girl in me who values her horizon wide and broad and vertically interrupted only by grain elevators, water towers, silos and groves of trees.

Old style power lines still run along Brown County Road 29.

Old style power lines still run along Brown County Road 29 between New Ulm and Morgan.

I wonder if my grandparents felt the same about the early rural electric co-op posts and lines strung along gravel township roads, the cement stave silos popping up on farms…old water-pumping windmills abandoned.

A cluster of Harvestore silos define a farm northeast of Vesta along Minnesota State Highway 19.

A cluster of Harvestore silos define a farm northeast of Vesta along Minnesota State Highway 19.

I felt a certain discontent when blue Harvestore silos began soldiering into southwestern Minnesota decades ago. They lacked personality and represented, to me, the demise of the small family farm.

Wind turbines in extreme southwestern Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo, July 2013.

Wind turbines in extreme southwestern Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo, July 2013.

These are my thoughts as I travel through my native prairie today. Progress does not always please me. Visually or otherwise.

(This post is cross posted at streets.mn.)

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling