Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

And there was light & clouds & beauty everywhere in rural Minnesota August 4, 2014

Power lines between Redwood Falls and Morgan.

Power lines tower over a cornfield between Redwood Falls and Morgan.

ALL THE WAY HOME, from southwestern Minnesota to southeastern, I watched the sky and the light and the crops as daylight edged ever nearer night.

A farm site between Morgan and New Ulm.

A farm site sits next to a corn field between Morgan and New Ulm.

There’s something magical about this time when light angles sharp shadows and a certain glow prevails.

Along U.S. Highway 14 between New Ulm and Courtland.

Along U.S. Highway 14 between New Ulm and Courtland.

On this particular evening, grey mingled with white and blue, clouds stretching and towering and sometimes nearly imprinting upon the earth.

I waited for the rain. Then, just east of Courtland along U.S. Highway 14, one of Minnesota’s most dangerous rural highways, the sky opened. For a short period, rain rushed across the windshield, washing away residue of bugs and bird poop with each swipe of the wipers.

Traveling U.S. Highway 14 near Eagle Lake.

Traveling U.S. Highway 14 near Eagle Lake.

Soon enough, the rain stopped and dry pavement rolled beneath the van tires.

Grain bins along Minnesota State Highway 60 just off U.S. Highway 14.

Grain bins along Minnesota State Highway 60 just off U.S. Highway 14.

I focused once again on the light—the contrast of fading sunlight against battle grey sky,

Light ripples across a hillside of corn between Waterville and Faribault along Minnesota State Highway 60.

Light ripples across a hillside of corn between Waterville and Faribault along Minnesota State Highway 60.

light spotlighting a hillside of tasseling corn,

Just east of Waterville along Minnesota State Highway 60.

Just east of Waterville along Minnesota State Highway 60.

vibrant yellow traffic signs popping alongside the road.

Barn and bins behind a corn field near Waterville.

Barn and bins behind a corn field near Waterville.

The landscape appeared more focused, like a bold-lined picture colored with pointy new crayons. Sharp. New. Unrounded.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling