Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Southern Minnesota harvest, in images and words October 14, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Unharvested cornfields line a gravel road in western Rice County, Minnesota.

Unharvested cornfields line a gravel road in western Rice County, Minnesota.

DRIVING A GRAVEL ROAD on an October afternoon draws you into the intimacy of the country. Cornfield close. See the harvest close.

A grain truck awaits the harvest in a field.

Grain trucks like this hold the harvest.

Here, where the dust flies and combines roar and grain trucks idle, you understand a farmer’s work. He is of the land. Hands on the steering wheel. Eyes on rows. Working long days, often into the darkness of a country night, to bring in the crop.

Farmers race against time to harvest the crop.

Harvest has started in this cornfield.

Weariness weighs. Weather forecasts bring relief or worry as the farmer races against time and the elements. Sunshine and grey skies. Too wet or too dry. Yields up, prices down.

A farmer pauses to check his grain truck during harvesting.

A farmer pauses to check his grain truck during harvesting.

It is the life of the farmer, of my heritage.

Driving through the hilly terrain of western Rice County to view the harvest and the land.

Driving through the hilly terrain of western Rice County to view the harvest and the land.

Although I left the farm more than four decades ago, I remain rooted to the land in memory. Every autumn I need to follow gravel roads, to connect with that which shaped me. I need cornfield close, harvest close.

BONUS PHOTOS (A drive in the country is about more than the harvest. It’s also about noticing the land, the animals, the sky, the everything rural):

My eyes are drawn to the clear blue sky, the leaves changing color and the muted tones of the harvested cornfield.

My eyes are drawn to the clear blue sky, the leaves changing color and the muted tones of the harvested field.

Occasionally waterways slice through the land. This seems a popular fishing spot given the bobbers and hooks snared on utility lines.

Occasionally waterways slice through the land. This seems a popular fishing spot given the bobbers and hooks snared on utility lines.

I always wonder at the abandonment of buildings. Why? And by whom?

I always wonder at the abandonment of buildings. Why? And by whom?

A beautiful surprise of oaks and water.

A beautiful surprise of oaks and water.

And then, the pastoral scene of cattle in pasture.

And then, the pastoral scene of grazing cattle.

FYI: These rural scenes were photographed Sunday afternoon in western Rice County, Minnesota.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling