Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thoughts from Minnesota June 1, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 4:26 PM
Tags: , ,


These porous stacked rocks represent the heaviness layered upon my heart. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


A HEAVINESS RESTS upon my heart.

I feel unsettled, overwhelmed, sad, heartbroken. As if pain and angst and worry have collectively landed. Upon the people in this place I call home. Minnesota.

Certainly, I am physically removed from the epicenter of unrest in the Twin Cities metro. But many friends and loved ones live there. And the reason for the protests—the death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police—touches me in a profoundly human way. The senselessness of his death… I understand the outrage, the anger, the desire for justice and change. I don’t understand the looting, the rioting, the destruction, the burning of businesses and government buildings, the threats…


The Faribault Police Department building photographed Saturday morning.


My community of Faribault has not gone untouched. Protesters gathered outside the police station Friday evening. Peaceful by media accounts, for which I am thankful. Still, it’s unsettling to see concrete and other barriers and a police vehicle protecting the local law enforcement headquarters.

Sunday evening Faribault joined other Minnesota communities in implementing a curfew beginning at 8 pm and continuing until 6 am Monday. The typically busy street past my house grew eerily quiet by 8:30 pm. I awoke several times during the night to silence.

Thankfully this past weekend I had the distraction of grandchildren to focus my attention, to love on, to hold close. I blew bubbles, chalked hearts on the sidewalk, read books, cuddled, played hide-and-seek. And when my eldest daughter, my son-in-law and those two precious grandchildren left at 5:30 pm Sunday with plenty of time to reach home in the north metro before curfew, Randy and I stood in the driveway waving the long Minnesota goodbye.


A protected police department, up close, on Saturday morning.


Minutes later, the daughter texted, “Better stay home tonight” with a screen shot about curfews in Faribault, Northfield and Dakota County.

Twenty minutes later, she texted, “They closed the freeways at 5 tonight. So we have to go a longer way.” Then the worry kicked in as I prayed for my loved ones to get safely home. We had no idea the interstate closings were moved ahead three hours.

But they found their usual route open and arrived home without delay. And this mother and grandma breathed again, although a heaviness still presses upon my heart.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling