Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Winona, Part V: Along the Mississippi January 12, 2016

A barge floats near the Mississippi River bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin in Winona.

A barge floats near the Mississippi River bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin in Winona. A new bridge is under construction next to the old one shown here and is expected to be completed this year. The old bridge will then undergo renovation. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

IN MINNESOTA’S SOUTHEASTERN most tip, the Mississippi River flows alongside bluffs, edging small towns and cities. Like Winona. The Mighty Mississippi shaped this island sandbar, today a destination for those who appreciate history, art, architecture, stained glass and more. Sometimes folks come just for the river.

Someone chalked the Levee Park sign much to my delight.

Someone chalked the Levee Park sign much to my delight. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

On a brief visit to Winona in September, my husband and I watched river traffic from Winona’s downtown Levee Park as twilight tinged the sky pink.

The Winona Tour Boat offers river cruises. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo September 2015.

The Winona Tour Boat offers river cruises. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

There’s something incredibly soothing about water. Mesmerizing really. Like a lullaby or poetry or the refrain of a favorite song.

The White Angel tugs a barge.

The White Angel tugs a barge. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

Water transports thoughts to a quiet place.

Winona State University's Cal Fremling boat also offers river cruises with a focus on education. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo September 2015.

Winona State University’s Cal Fremling boat also offers river cruises with a focus on education. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

Or a place of adventure, sans Huckleberry Finn. Who hasn’t dreamed of clamoring aboard a raft and leaving everything behind?

As the sun sets, Winona State University's Cal Fremling boat passes under the Mississippi Rover bridge in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

As the sun sets, Winona State University’s Cal Fremling boat passes under the Mississippi Rover bridge in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

Days flow like a river, sometimes straight and true, other times twisting and turning through a torrent of troubles.

Boathouses as photographed from Levee Park in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

Boathouses as photographed from Levee Park in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo, September 2015.

On this September evening, peace ran like a river past Winona, through my soul…

The old Mississippi River bridge in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo 2015.

The old Mississippi River bridge in Winona. Minnesota Prairie Roots photo 2015.

diminishing all thoughts of a bridge over troubled waters.

FYI: Tomorrow I conclude my series from Winona.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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35 Responses to “In Winona, Part V: Along the Mississippi”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Love the “peace like a river” reference. Water does that to me as well. When I wake up in the morning I pull the curtains back so I can watch the sunrise over the lake and it is a perfect start to the day—-watching God’s beauty unfold right before my eyes. There is peace in that picture every single morning Good morning to you, Audrey.

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    I love the softer hue of sky against the steel and concrete… even the mighty Mississippi lends a softer appearance – but of course we know she is a mighty force and not soft nor lazy at all! Great photos, Audrey.

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    I very much enjoy being near water, on the water and in the water. I concur with you soothing statement. I’ve spent many hours with friends enjoying the river in Winona.

    • As much as I like the sound and sight of water, I don’t like being on it. Probably because I can’t swim and did not grow up around water. When I took swimming lessons as a youth, the teachers threatened to push me into the water when I was terrified of jumping in the deep end of the pool. Not a good way to teach a young person how to swim.

      • Dan Traun Says:

        I am not a great swimmer at all. One of the first experiences with water I recall was nearly drowning because I was running along side a pool, fell, smacked my head on the concrete and fell it. Water scares me – especially huge waves, which I’ve experienced a few times as well (Lake Pepin, Lake Michigan, Caribbean). Life jackets are your friend.

      • That would be a scary experience.

  4. There is just something about photographing water that speaks to me! Beautiful captures – makes me want to find a boat and escape for a bit 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  5. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    What a great bridge. Love those old iron ones. Although this summer we went over one from Illinois into Iowa up near Dubuque, and it was kind of terrifying. The boathouses are great, a neat little pop of color by the water.

  6. Don Says:

    I would love to live in one of those houseboats on the river!

  7. Jackie Says:

    I too love the water, yes it’s soothing…to the soul. I especially love hearing the wave lap against the shore at our cabin, or the waves that crash into the rock on the shore of Lake Superior, it’s quite mesmerizing!

  8. Norma Says:

    The chalk marks on the word PARK,, is called graffiti , and is against the law here. I love water. Especially the ocean. I love hearing the roar of the waves. I hear and see God in the water. Even when the ocean is angry, it brings peace to my soul.

  9. I’d rather view the tranquil waters with my feet firmly on the ground but your pictures sure are stunning.

  10. Sue Ready Says:

    Now this is quite a poetic piece about the river-many lines just beg to be shaped into a poem.

  11. “Oh, Mississippi you’re callin’ my name”..


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