Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Picnic perfect January 16, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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WINTERS TEND TO GROW long here in Minnesota. Double-digit below zero temps, windchills, snow, ice and too much darkness wear on even the heartiest of native Minnesotans. Like me.

So I force myself sometimes to embrace this season. This weekend, which yielded balmy temps in the 30s and sunny skies, brought a smile and lifted my spirits. As did this photo, shot Sunday afternoon while hiking snow-packed paths at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault:




I am struck by this scene—by the contrast of seasons (thoughts of summer in the reality of winter), by the lone picnic table set upon snow on the prairie’s edge. I expect the table placement was intentional, for a purpose. But the creative side of me likes to imagine otherwise—that perhaps an artist or a comedian staged the table here to make a point/prompt conversation/elicit laughter.

I am applauding. Because I am laughing. And in a Minnesota winter, laughter is good.

TELL ME: What’s your response to this “picnic perfect” scene?

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


27 Responses to “Picnic perfect”

  1. Janelle Parry Says:

    Audrey, I love it! It gives me a warm feeling that winter is just a passing trial to remind us how spectacular the rest of our year is. I think we appreciate it so much more than those without seasons. I find it delightful that the picnic table doesn’t show any sign of snow or ice, like it was just waiting there for you to have some jerky or nuts you brought along on a walk to have an impromptu picnic. I enjoy your eye for everyday things that bring so much interest.

    • Thank you, Janelle.

      River Bend hosted a Snow Crush Fat Tire race on Saturday and is hosting WinterFest this coming Saturday. So that may be part of the reason the picnic table is there. It just really struck me when I saw the picnic table, alone on the open prairie.

  2. 10 PM there might be 20+ snowmobilers having a rendezvous party 😉

  3. Littlesundog Says:

    I would have to laugh also, and there is no way I would consider a picnic any time soon up north. Here, yes, MAYBE if the temps were at leas in the 50’s!

  4. Beth Ann Says:

    Sunny skies always make it so much better even if the cold air is nipping at your nose. If the sun is out I have a whole different attitude. The picnic table is a perfect reminder that spring is just around the corner. Well….maybe the second corner. 🙂

  5. Great Photo! Sometimes even in the winter time you need a place to sit and instead of the cold ground a picnic bench is the next best option. Plus if you need a place to sit to put on snowshoes or may need a hold to snap into cross country skis a picnic table is a helpful tool. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  6. Ralph Hopper Says:

    Hi Audrey – As usual it is a good photograph, looks lonely. i have relatives living in Minnesota and they compound what you say about the weather. Happy New Year from Devon in the UK where it is 10 celsius.



  7. Almost Iowa Says:

    It almost looks like it is on a lake, which would make me think that a group of ice-fishermen dragged it out there. It would be a perfect place to party.

  8. Barbara Says:

    Oh, how I miss those Minnesota winters. Yes, I am living in Tampa, Florida and I don’t get back as often as I would like. I have fond memories of cross country skiing and finding a picnic table like this to have my trail mix. My husband and I both grew up on farms in Mn/Wis. Audrey, we thank you for keeping us in touch.

  9. Carol Says:

    Look at the beautiful tan that picnic table is sporting!! In Minnesota, the sun works wonders all year ’round.

  10. estremdj Says:

    Reblogged this on Have You Ever Seen A Firefly? and commented:
    Love this!

  11. Valerie Says:

    Audrey – It makes me want to have a picnic. We tried to make the best of Minnesota winters with our young boys so we went on a winter picnic every winter. We would build a bon fire and roast hot dogs,have hot baked beans in the thermos and some hot chocolate! Simple but fun. Lots of cold but happy memories of winter picnics! Just went on one a couple years ago in fact, with friends.

  12. Jackie Says:

    It thrills me to know you got out to “Embrace” winter this weekend. It was a lovely Sunday indeed. Rick and I enjoyed an afternoon sledding eight the grands. (blog post to come) My first thought about your photo is a great place to stop and tighten your boot laces, or snow shoes or just have a little rest. Love the photo, it’s lovely!

  13. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    It’s a beautiful picture and scene but I can’t imagine having a bite to eat there this time of year

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