Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

No solar eclipse for me…just grey skies August 22, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A line of grey stretches across the sky as we drive back into Faribault along Rice County Road 19 Monday evening.


ON A DAY WHEN THE SOLAR eclipse focused eyes to the sky, I failed to share in the excitement. For me the day marked my son’s return to Boston after a few days in Minnesota. His visit had been too brief and I’d been too busy with a family reunion to consider the weather event of the year.



About the time the eclipse peaked in Minnesota, clouds shifted across the sky, diminishing the view. It didn’t matter much to me. We were aiming for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. My thoughts were not of the solar eclipse, but of the miles closing in before I would, once again, hug Caleb goodbye. I long ago stopped crying at the airport.

On the drive home, grey clouds opened, pouring down rain in weather that fit my emotions.



Hours later my phone binged with a message that Caleb’s plane had just landed in Boston. We were back on the road again, this time heading to the reunion site to load up tables and chairs to return to friends. A band of grey stretched across the darkening evening sky in a seemingly infinite trail that, in my mind’s eye, reached 1,400 miles away to a residential neighborhood in greater Boston.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


24 Responses to “No solar eclipse for me…just grey skies”

  1. KetanSharadDeshpande Says:

    Same here, our kiddo was so excited to see it after the middle school orientation. YouTube video is now the next best thing

  2. Lynne King Says:

    Audrey…. I share your gray thoughts every time I leave my family behind in Indiana after a visit. I used to cry when I watched them waving goodbye to me. The first couple of hours driving we’re horrible. Now, after 6 years in Minnesota, I spend those first few hours of driving planning my next visit. Packing up the memories made during this trip and yearning for one more minute of a love only family can provide.
    I wish you sunshine today. Feel that hug from Boston. It’s there in the memories made while he was home.

  3. Valerie Says:

    That’s interesting Audrey. We were able to view much of the first half of the eclipse, in between some clouds.

    I do know the feeling of saying good-bye to kids who live far away. It’s hard.

  4. Jackie Says:

    I wonder if it ever get easier, I know mine is only 80 miles away, but I get a knot In my stomach every time we depart. I don’t know what it’s like to have one so far away, but I know from your words that it’s hard on your mamma heart! Thinking of you dear friend as you are missing your boy!

  5. Bernadette Thomasy Says:

    Sending our kids off to faraway places really challenges the heart (I remember it well) and grey skies don’t help. Hoping for some sunny skies for you today.

    • Skies are sunny here on an absolutely stunning August day tinged with hints of autumn. I am feeling much better. It’s that initial melancholy that saturates me and then I get over it because I realize my boy is where he needs to be.

  6. I was at work so I kinda watched online. 🙂 The Weather Channel had some good live shots. We were supposed to have gotten about 75%, but I didn’t notice any difference.

  7. Good to hear Caleb came home for a visit 🙂 It is hard when your immediate family lives miles apart. Mine is scattered from the Midwest to Out West to South. Those visits of quality time together are special, savored and cherished. I am glad my parents are RVers and spend 3 months down here with me now that I moved a little closer to them. Happy Day – Enjoy!

  8. Susan Ready Says:

    yes I felt cheated and Hackensack viewing area was no better than your area. Though I did enjoy all the TV coverage as they moved from state to state showing the eclipse path. Kinda gave me the chills thinking how awasome it all was for everyone who did get lucky to witness it. .

  9. Dorothy Says:

    We enjoyed the sky getting dark as evening. But no complete darkness here. I am sure Grant in Wyoming had a much better view of all of it. It is a thing to remember. Nature at its best.


  10. Judy M. Says:

    I hope that you had a nice day today with some smiles in it and the rest of your week you will be happy.Judy M

  11. We couldn’t see the eclipse here either although I have to admit that we had a great flash of lightning just as it was supposed to reach 90° totality. It’s hard to imagine my kids not living at home but I’m sure that day will come too soon.

  12. Littlesundog Says:

    Since your day was rather blue, I almost feel guilty sharing about the special day I had with my family, viewing the event together. Our eclipse day proved to be extra extraordinary because we met a wonderful family from Minnesota… and dad in the group happened to be an astronomer! They shared their special binocular setup with us and we were all able to view the eclipse on a level we never dreamed of! And while threatening rain clouds crept our way in the distance, and often light cloud cover floated over in large blankets, at the moment of the corona stage, the skies opened up to a clearing of blue… not a wisp of cloud passed through for about ten minutes. We were able to view the total solar eclipse for about 2 minutes and 29 seconds. I still get goosebumps remembering the experience.

    What were the chances of sharing our spot in a country cemetery (where my grandparents are buried) with some great people from Minnesota? I thought of you that day…

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