TYPICALLY, I STICK to paved and grassy trails when hiking at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault. I feel more secure on a firm surface, mostly free of hidden obstacles.
But, on a recent visit to River Bend, Randy and I followed a dirt trail down a steep hill to the Straight River. I felt apprehensive as we navigated, like mountain goats, down the limestone-pocked hill. He’s always willing to grab my hand, a reassuring act that makes me feel more confident. With two broken bones resulting from falls in my medical history, I hold a heightened awareness of keeping myself safe.
So, as we followed the dirt path covered with leaves and tripping tree roots, I watched my step more than my surroundings. And when you’re a photographer always alert to her environment, this is not ideal. I found myself stopping often to take in the woods and details therein. Randy is also great about alerting me to possible photo subjects. I deeply appreciate that about him, that he values my interest in photography.
He also recognizes that my map-reading skills rate at about zero as does my sense of direction, unless I’m in my native southwestern Minnesota prairie of straight, gridded lines. I rely on him to know where we are going. And sometimes, I’ve found, he fakes that knowledge. That makes me uncomfortable. But we always emerge out of the woods, safe and sound.
No visit to River Bend is complete without a walk through the prairie to take in the tall grasses and wildflowers defining that landscape. I need to see wide sky and open land, so much a part of me. Of my history as a daughter of the prairie.
Yet, having lived in southeastern Minnesota for nearly 40 years, I’ve grown to appreciate the woods and hills and lakes, mostly absent from the landscape of my youth. Every place, every landscape, possesses a certain beauty, if only we stop in the busyness of life to recognize that. These days, especially, call for each of us to pause and reassess. To consider what we most value. And on my list of faith, family, friends and health, I also add nature.
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
The colors of a Van Gogh painting. Your fall is father along than ours.
Oh, Ruth, love the Van Gogh reference. Yes, autumn has definitely arrived in Minnesota. This week is supposed to be glorious in warmth and color.
Thank you, Keith. I hope you’re having a lovely autumn.
Thank you, so much! The closest I’ve been to the Straight River is the 3rd St. bridge, but I know the bluffs and surrounding areas, but not as far SE as River Bend. Is there a connection between the Center and the Straight River Trail I hear so much about? The south end of the trail looks quite a distance from the Center, actually your neighborhood. I wish our wind would calm down, leave the leaves! Time to work on the patio…..
Sandra, it’s good to hear from you. I don’t know if the Straight River Trail and River Bend connect. Remember, I’m not good a map-reading. And, yes that city trail runs near my home.
I’m not happy either by all the leaves blowing off the trees today. Sigh.
Great photos from Riverbend Nature Center…a lovely place!
Thank you, Valerie. We walked again there yesterday. Lots of vehicles in the parking lots. But we saw only a few people while there.
I really enjoyed this fall walk with you and Randy. My favorite photo is the landscape of the prairie grasses and the beautiful colored trees in the background — stunning simplicity. Just wonderful.
Thank you, Bernadette. I know you sometimes miss “home,” and I’m happy to take you back there.
You read between the lines. I was missing “home.”
River Bend Nature Center was my favorite place to walk and enjoy the beautiful change of scenery as the seasons change. Fall, of course, was my favorite
season and you captured in pictures the essence of its beauty – thank you!
Thank you and you are welcome. More River Bend pix coming tomorrow. I walked there again on Sunday.
Wow! What a beautiful day to hike! Love the photos and the way you captured the wonderful MN fall colors. Ahhhhh how much I miss them this year…
Oh, I know you miss the MN fall colors, Paula. I’m sorry. Hopefully my photos help.
Never be sorry for posting these wonderful images. They are appreciated!!!😊❤️
Thank you, Paula.
Another lovely post with lovely pictures to enjoy of your Minnesota fall. You are making me like fall a little bit more with each post. 🙂
Good. I really really like autumn, except for the knowledge of what comes next. Winter.