Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

River Bend in March, before the latest winter storm March 16, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Ice edges a pond Sunday afternoon at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault.

AS I WRITE MONDAY AFTERNOON, snow continues to fall. Steady, for hours and hours. Layering the landscape that, only the day prior, was devoid of snow.

After an especially lovely Saturday of sunshine and 50 some degrees, this return of winter seems like a mean trick of Mother Nature. I rather enjoyed pre-spring. But as a life-long Minnesotan, I expected snow and cold to return. Yet, maybe not with such force, as if the weather has something to prove.

That all said, let’s forget the winter storm and backtrack to Sunday afternoon, when Randy and I hiked the trails at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault. It’s one of our favorite places to escape into nature.

I always carry my camera. And here’s what I found: Natural beauty even in a drab landscape transitioning between seasons.

Signs of spring in maple sap collection bags and buckets.

And sap dripping slowly into the containers.

Signs of winter in ice edging the Turtle Pond.

A lone child’s snow boot, which left me wondering how that got lost without anyone noticing.

And the photo I didn’t take of young people clustered along a limestone ledge with their remote control vehicles climbing the layered rock. Limestone was once quarried from this area.

And then the bark-less fallen tree Randy pointed to with shades of brown sweeping like waves lapping at the lakeshore. Artistically beautiful. Poetic.

Just like words imprinted upon plaques adhered to memorial benches honoring those who loved this place, this River Bend.

Moss carpeting the ground in a line across a ridge of land in the woods. The only green in a landscape of brown tones.

Dried grasses and dried weeds on the prairie. The muted remnants of autumn.

Tracks muddied into the earth.

And birch

and fungi and all those things you notice if you only take the time to pause. To appreciate the natural world. To step into the woods. To walk the asphalt trails heaved by frost and tree roots. Or to follow the dirt trails that connect soles to ground. Soul to nature.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “River Bend in March, before the latest winter storm”

  1. Ruth Says:

    Beautiful photographs of the prairie, the woods, the changing seasons. And that boot! There’s a story there.

  2. Yum – Maple Syrup time! I can almost smell the cookers going. Maybe this is that normal last winter storm before glorious Spring…

  3. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    Hi Audrey, I love these photos of the what you saw on your hike. I have a similar theme in the blog post I just finished for tomorrow at One Minnesota Writer! We let the snow just sit in our driveway today – we only had about an inch or two and it’s melting quickly. I never get tired of how fresh snow outlines all the tree limbs. Soul to nature – yes.

    • I look forward to reading your post tomorrow on One Minnesota Writer. We had about six inches of snow yesterday, so I spent lots of time shoveling. As I write snow falls again.

      Randy called me into the kitchen last evening to look out the window at the snowy backyard, the snow layering trees, and the light. It was truly beautiful and I appreciate that he managed to get me off the recliner to see the beauty.

  4. jhc1218 Says:

    Glad you were able to get out and enjoy the glorious weather before the latest round of snow. I highly recommend a visit to Whitetail Woods Regional Park in Farmington if you get a chance. It’s part of the Dakota county system. They now have fully paved path around the lake and recently improved their nature play area. Izzy and Isaac would love it and it’s near to them. It’s a great place for a picnic, as well. One of our faves.

  5. valeriebollinger Says:

    Riverbend Nature Center…a wonderful place to visit anytime of the year!

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