Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A May evening at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault May 6, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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River Bend Nature Center, 27 trail through woods

 

SUNLIGHT FILTERED THROUGH THE WOODS, cutting sharp angles across trails, spotlighting wildflower blossoms, gloaming with an ethereal quality.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 42 violet

 

The end of the day was nearing as my husband and I walked the trails of River Bend Nature Center in Faribault, first at a fast pace to raise our heart rates. That didn’t last long.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 29 white wildflowers close-up

 

Soon I unslung my camera from my shoulder, stopped to photograph wildflowers carpeting the woods lush with green growth. Green always seems incredibly vivid in the spring. I often wonder if that’s because it is or because we Minnesotans haven’t seen a green landscape in way too long.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 34 white wildflowers in woods

 

It doesn’t matter. I am thankful for spring’s early arrival, with winter but a memory now, although Randy mentioned the white wildflowers looked a lot like snow blanketing the ground.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 36 family on trail

 

Walkers and bikers, solo and with family or pets, traversed the nature center. We paused occasionally, wondering about the history of this place, about the pockets of limestone clearly quarried, about the Faribault Regional Center residents who once worked this land and tended livestock here, about the land before then.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 35 names carved in tree

 

I wondered, too, about Aron and Kristi who carved their names into the soft wood of a trail-side tree.

As we emerged from the woods, I scanned the vista of sky and prairie. I am most comfortable in a place where my eyes can wander, where I am not visually hemmed in by trees. The imprint of my rural southwestern Minnesota upbringing remains strong even forty years removed from the prairie.

Crossing the prairie, I watched my steps on the uneven grass trail and thought about ticks. I felt a bump on the left side of my head, my fingers drawing blood as I scratched. There was no tick, Randy assured me.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 50 Randy sitting by pond

 

We soon settled onto a bench next to the prairie pond and listened to the trill of red-winged blackbirds.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 55 cattails at twilight

 

Dried cattails plumed in the lovely light. I felt comfortably at peace.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 62 crab apple blossoms

 

After awhile we aimed back toward the parking lot, where I paused to photograph pink blossoms against deep blue sky.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 67 red-headed woodpecker

 

River Bend Nature Center, 77 bird at feeder

 

River Bend Nature Center, 80 red-winged blackbird

 

I diverted to bird feeders behind the nature center interpretative center. The birds scattered, wary of my presence. But soon they returned and I photographed them, admiring splashes of red on heads, wings and breasts. I’m not particularly fond of winged creatures up close. But from afar, I can appreciate them.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 18 geese

 

According to Randy, I should have kept my distance upon photographing a pair of geese and seven goslings earlier. It’s interesting how a camera can create confidence that perhaps we shouldn’t always have when encountering nature.

On this stunning May evening in Minnesota, all felt right in my world. And all it took was a walk in the woods and across the prairie of River Bend Nature Center.

 

River Bend Nature Center, 59 interpretative center

 

TELL ME, WHAT’S YOUR go-to place to escape into nature?

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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22 Responses to “A May evening at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    My back deck or front deck are my favorite places right now to watch nature. 🙂 Glad to see you have a Gertie and George of your own!.

  2. Beautiful Captures – Thanks for the Nature Walk 🙂 Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

  3. I like to walk or bike the Sakatah State Trail. It’s so peaceful. Otherwise, I just love sitting on a deck chair at my farm. There is nothing like an evening there.

  4. Marneymae Says:

    What a lovely place…

  5. Norma Says:

    My favorite place to go to nature , is the ocean. I love to watch the waves come in, and listen to the roar of the water hitting the shore. Not only can you see God, you can also hear him.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Love all your photo’s, such a beautiful place for a walk…. many things to see! My back yard/Deck is my haven (when I’m not at the cabin). Tonight while sitting on our log swing out back, Rick said to me, “do you ever feel like we are in someone else’s space”. He was talking about all the different birds flying in and out of our pine trees, and all the sounds that the birds make… it’s quite impressive 🙂

  7. Sue Ready Says:

    I particularly liked your closeup of pink blossoms and birds. Your photography skills always capture sharp images. Just lovely is all l can say.

  8. Beautiful pictures. So happy to see spring surrounding us.


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