Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Walking through snowy woods on a Sunday afternoon January 4, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

THE WEATHERMAN PROMISED mostly sunny skies Sunday in southern Minnesota. But predictions and reality don’t always match. Rather than sunshine here in Faribault, grey skies prevailed, matching my mood.


Nature Center, 2 Randy walking


I needed a walk in the woods, an escape. Time to envelope myself in nothing but nature, in the muffled quiet of traversing a snow-covered trail winding through River Bend Nature Center.


Nature Center, 6 trees


There is something about trudging through snow, about pausing to study the bark of a naked tree, about tipping your head upward toward the sky, even if it is grey, that temporarily nudges away heartache.


Nature Center, 5 cross country skiers


Nature Center, 11 single cross country skier


Nature Center, 25 skiing uphill


So I walked with my husband through the sparse landscape of black-and-white. Sparse words. Silence in between. A Robert Frost poem. Only the sporadic cross country skier interrupted our solitude.


Nature Center, 30 woodpecker


Nature Center, 8 green birdhouse


Nature Center, 17 walking across icy parking lot


Occasionally I stopped to snapshot a scene. When my fingertips ached with cold from photographing birds in 27 degrees, I wove across the patchy ice of the parking lot to our Chevy.

Nature Center, 42 license plate


There I photographed my final nature scene on a license plate.


Nature Center, 15 River Bend van


Then our car wound back through River Bend, past snowy woods and a frozen pond, past the razor wire fence and grounds of the Minnesota Correctional Facility, Faribault (which sits right next to the Nature Center), back to reality. Still shrouded by grey skies.


Walking the dogs.

Walking the dogs.

A tag at the base of a tree.

A tag at the base of a tree.

A sign in the woods explains an effort to rid River Bend of invasive buckthorn by utilizing goats to eat the invasive tree.

A sign in the woods explains an effort to rid River Bend of buckthorn by utilizing goats to eat the invasive tree.

Goats from Goat Dispatch will also consume these Christmas trees which area residents are invited to drop off at River Bend.

Goats from Goat Dispatch will also consume these Christmas trees and wreaths dropped off by area residents. The goats will be on-site during River Bend’s January 24 WinterFest.

Β© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “Walking through snowy woods on a Sunday afternoon”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Brrr. Looks cold but lovely. Even though I know you love the wide open prairie spaces I am glad you could take solace in the woods on this day. There is something about walking in the woods that calms me and brings me closer to God, how about you? Hope it helped you a bit even if the skies were gray.

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    I didn’t realize goats would eat buckthorn. Do they simply let them wander around eating at their leisure?

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    in the muffled quiet

    The best thing about winter.

  4. Beautiful Captures – thanks for sharing the other “white stuff” with me; snow – ha! Happy Day – Enjoy πŸ™‚

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    Oh, Audrey, you know I would be eating up this type of trek! But, I am more of a warm weather person. I like winter in the south. Right now we still have remnants of ice and snow, but here it generally lasts just a few days and it’s gone. 40’s and 50’s are winter temps most of the time. I’m not into the bitter cold for endless days. I liked your term, “naked tree”. They are naked this time of year… I just hadn’t heard it said that way! πŸ™‚

    • I’ve been wondering how you’ve been impacted by all of the nasty weather.

      I imagine you grew up with plenty of snow and cold in Nebraska. I don’t appreciate winter like I did as a child. But since I choose to remain in Minnesota (I cannot imagine leaving), I have to try and embrace the elements and landscape, naked trees and all.

  6. Don Says:

    There is something magical about a walk through the woods. For me it brings a feeling of peace and tranquility in a world full of distractions. I enjoy the quiet which is occasionally broken by a birds song or that of a woodpecker beating its head on a tree. Collecting my thoughts while maneuvering my way across frozen snow covered trails brings me into another world all to my own. I always have a tendency to become very melancholy after the holiday season. I reflect on all the activities we participated in, the time we spent with friends and family, and enjoying the overall spirit of the season. It all goes too fast!

    In my minds eye your pictures bring me back to my winter walks in Minnesota, thanks for the memories!

  7. Nature often restores the soul as long as you don’t get frost bitten. Beautiful pictures thanks for sharing.

  8. I love what the folks at Goat Dispatch are all about.

  9. Jackie Says:

    Nothin’ like a winter walk in the woods, there is a quietness that adds to the beauty that I notice all around. I hope you were bundled up and stayed warm! I kind of want to see those goats eat the Christmas tree’s… a strange concept to me πŸ™‚

  10. hotlyspiced Says:

    Goats are clearly very useful! I didn’t know they eat Christmas trees! I went for a walk yesterday but there was definitely no snow. But I shared the same grey skies. We’re having a week of rain, rain and more rain. Instead of walking in the rain I would love to have a walk in the snow. Thank you for your lovely comment on my most recent blog post – you really lifted my spirits xx

  11. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    Sometimes a walk is what’s needed. Even in the cold.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s