Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Following the backroads of Rice County into autumn October 2, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Fall colors as photographed in rural Rice County, Minnesota, on September 26.


THIS AUTUMN FEELS especially fleeting, as if the days are slipping too quickly into the cold and dark of winter’s grip. The sun now rises shortly after 7 a.m. and sets just before 7 p.m. The darkness is closing in and I feel it.


Ripening corn and soybean fields surround this farm site in Rice County.


This year, more than ever, I feel an urgency to get outdoors, to delight in every single moment of autumnal beauty, of semi warm temps, of days without snow.


Heading uphill on the backroads of Rice County last Saturday.


And I feel this way due to COVID-19. The reality is that the winter ahead will prove challenging as we hunker down indoors, limiting our contact with others as we attempt to stay healthy and protect others. At least that’s my plan, Randy’s plan.


Cornfields ripen, awaiting the harvest. I feel like we’re all waiting. Just waiting in this season of COVID.


We’ve already managed seven months of this cautiousness, this recognition that we hold a responsibility to do our part. For ourselves. And for our friends, family and neighbors. I’m particularly worried these days about the upsurge in cases in Wisconsin, where our daughter and her husband and our son live. But I worry, too, about Randy facing potential COVID exposure daily at work because of a failure among others to mask, mask properly or to follow other safety/health regulations. I am beyond frustrated, as I’ve stated here in previous posts.


Another Rice County farm site. COVID knows no differences between rural and urban. We’re seeing that now in Minnesota, where cases of the virus in rural counties are spiking.


We’re weary of it all. Truly weary. Who isn’t experiencing COVID fatigue? But, as our health officials have advised, this is no time to let down our guard, to give up, to live our lives like there’s no pandemic. Because Randy and I are trying to be careful, we gravitate outdoors, whether on countryside drives or hiking. Nature and time outdoors provide a peaceful and uplifting escape.


Driving down Rice County’s backroads to view the ripening crops and fall colors.


Last Saturday took us onto backroads in our county of Rice, where we’ve found fall colors to be especially lovely. And mostly undiscovered. We had no particular destination and I can’t even tell you where we drove. But we drive and turn and turn and drive and follow whatever roads seem interesting.


Farm sites prove interesting to me on these rural drives.


The overcast day wasn’t especially beautiful for leaf-viewing. But, this time of year, you take what you get and enjoy whatever appears before you.


Color tints treelines in rural Rice County.


I encourage each of you, especially if you live in the Rice County area or other parts of Minnesota, to take a fall color drive this weekend. These days are fleeting as leaves change colors and fall, moving us closer and closer to the long winter ahead.


TELL ME: Do you have a recommendation for a great place to view fall colors?

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “Following the backroads of Rice County into autumn”

  1. Washe Koda Says:

    I ❤️️ Minnesota 🙂 thanks for sharing

  2. Best way for me to view Fall colors is through my blogging friends that are sharing their photos of Fall. 🙂 I have seen Wisconsin, Colorado and now Minnesota – thanks! We are getting ready to go into bloom season down here. Planting the garden right now and our lime tree has been producing great tangy limes for us. Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

  3. valeriebollinger Says:

    Just driving around Northfiled we are seeing a lot of beautiful color. 😉

  4. Ken Weddinfg Says:

    Thanks so much for your words and photos. They are islands of calm and sanity.

  5. Don’t you just LOVE fall! We hope to see some pretty colors on the way up to the cabin this week.

  6. treadlemusic Says:

    The leaf color change seems to be so early!! Here in the bluff country one finds hidden gems of color nestled in our narrow coulees…….many on “Minimum Maintenance Roads” that very much remind me of a wide cow path!! I hope we can take a drive tomorrow after church on one of these hidden treasures (discovered only recently!). The sunshine heightens the glorious golden hues and tomorrow is forecast to deliver. Hunkering down is so much easier to accomplish in the warmth of summer when outdoor tasks give opportunity to bask in the needed vitamin D. The thought of very short, chilly days and the continued admonition to distance is sobering. Hugs to you and Randy…………

  7. I’m so glad that we get to go along on these outings with you! Beautiful scenery! Thank you for sharing! ❤

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