Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Symbolism from the banks of the North Branch of the Zumbro River December 1, 2016

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THE NORTH BRANCH of the Zumbro River ripples Hamm’s beer Land of Sky Blue Waters blue toward Pine Island Trailhead Park.

 

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Through bare branched trees, sunlight flashes diamonds across the water’s surface.

 

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Light and darkness. Darkness and light. Intertwined, like good and evil.

 

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Farther down, as the river bends, I stand on the trail head bridge appreciating water so clear I can see the sandy, pebbly bottom. Sand sculpted by water. A bird’s footprint. Clarity. If only life was so simple, so clear, so still. Free of that which pollutes.

 

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I turn my attention momentarily away from the water to lines that shadow across the bridge deck. Lines like bars run the length of the pathway. So symbolic. Bars. They hold people in. They keep people safe. Yet they don’t when the system fails.

 

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I peer through the bars that stop me from tumbling into the shallow water far below. Falling, falling, falling.

 

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Between the bars, I see my mini shadow and that of my husband. Shadows so near the water’s edge I fear they may fall in.

 

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The snake of the Zumbro slithers by, curving away until I can no longer see what lies beyond the bend. Beyond today.

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Note: I took these photos in October.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling