Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

When the snow falls too early in southern Minnesota October 14, 2018

Snow whitens the landscape at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of Minnesota State Highway 60/Fourth Street and Second Avenue in Faribault.


THERE’S A CERTAIN DISBELIEF, even among life-long Minnesotans, when you awaken on a mid-October morning to snow. Snow layering the grass. Snow layering leaves still clinging to trees. Snow still falling.


Heavy snow fell late Sunday morning as we drove along Minnesota State Highway 60 west out of Faribault. That’s the Interstate 35 overpass in this photo.


That was our Sunday morning here in southeastern Minnesota. I knew snow was in the forecast, but for parts farther south, like the next county south and to the Iowa border along Interstate 90. Not here. Not in Faribault.


Snow accumulates on my backyard maple tree.


But when I awakened around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, snow was falling and continued into early afternoon. And while I wasn’t exactly happy about a snowfall this early, I admit to retaining a certain excitement about that first snow of the winter. Except it’s not officially winter yet. Or is it?


The flowerpots I emptied on Saturday with snow falling and accumulating around them on Sunday.


Just yesterday Randy and I were looking for elusive fall colors, driving along back country roads in Rice County, no thought of snow on our minds. Afterward, we did yard work, emptied flowerpots of frozen flowers. No thought of snow on our minds.



Then today…we’re heading to and from the Fall Harvest Dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown, in a snow globe world.


My favorite shot of the day is this rural scene near North Morristown.





I needed that drive into the country to view this early snowfall from an artistic perspective and not a gosh darn, it’s way too early for snow mentality. I needed this drive to see a landscape lightened by white, not dimmed by grey.







I needed the visual reminder that, even in snow, beauty exists. Snow smudges softness into the landscape. I saw that painterly quality in fields and on barn roofs. In treelines. On a single leaf. And that was all it took for me to appreciate this first snowfall of the season here in Rice County in southeastern Minnesota.



Remind me of that appreciative attitude come January, February, March and April.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


23 Responses to “When the snow falls too early in southern Minnesota”

  1. Claudette Says:

    Ack! I’m not ready!! 😉

  2. Brenda R Says:

    I took a picture of the snow we’d gotten when I left for church this morning and sent it to our son that just moved to southern Indiana with the question- Missing Minnesota? His response- No! 😀

  3. Norma Says:

    From a summer weary Californian, It is beautiful there.

  4. valeriebollinger Says:

    I’m glad for your positive attitude towards this snow in October. Mine…not so positive. 😉
    I’m looking forward to the warmer temperatures this week.

  5. Almost Iowa Says:

    Great photo essay, Audrey. The snow pretty much shutdown the harvest. Here is hoping that it melts off and dries up soon.

  6. Seems too early for the White Stuff. Still in the 90’s here. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  7. Beth Ann Says:

    No snow here but lovely, lovely fall weather which prompted us to take a walk around our lake this afternoon. Low 70’s and sunny and bright and lovely. I agree that your white is much better than gray skies —the contrast is good. Enjoy the fleeting first snow — that’s the good thing about it, right?

  8. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    You are talking my talk now Audrey…”I needed the visual reminder that, even in snow, beauty exists” I have always seen the beauty on snow and look forward to that white stuff. I love the photo of the ceramic girl hiding behind the flower pot, you can almost read her mind. Beautiful shots of snow covered country, probably my favorite backdrop!

    • Thank you, Jackie. I know it’s difficult to tell, but the little “girl” is actually a boy. He holds a jar of fireflies and I’ve named him Justin, after my nephew who died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 19. His mom (my sister-in-law) has this same art in a garden she created in memory of Justin. That’s why I have this Little Justin.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Love the beauty of the snow but not driving in it. It sure has been nice the last few weeks

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