Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Poetry flashback as we welcome spring March 20, 2021

Billboards in my Roadside Poetry Project poem posted in Fergus Falls 10 years ago. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2011.

THE OFFICIAL ARRIVAL OF SPRING today seems reason to celebrate, especially here in Minnesota, the land of long winters. Or, as my California-raised son-in-law once thought, Almost Canada.

Billboard #2 in my poem. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2011.

From here on, daylight lengthens. And, after this past pandemic year, I’m thankful for the seasonal transition into more sunlight and resulting warmth and melting of snow. That said, this is still March and in Minnesota that likely means more cold and snowy days.

But, as we ease into spring, I feel a sense of renewal. Warm days with temps in the 50s and near 60, like those predicted for this weekend, are freeing, uplifting and promising.

Billboards #3 and 4. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2011.

Farmers, I expect, are itching to get into the fields, although it’s way too early for that. I still think like the farm-raised woman I am, connecting seasons to the cycle of planting, growing and harvesting. That will always remain an important part of my identity and continues to influence my writing and photography.

The last of four billboards featuring my Roadside Poetry spring poem. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2011.

Flash back to 10 years ago and you can read that influence in a poem I penned and submitted to the Roadside Poetry Project. In four lines, each with a 20 character limit, I wrote a spring-themed poem that bannered on four billboards in Fergus Falls. It’s the most unusual spot my poetry has ever published.

The billboards posted along a road on the edge of Fergus Falls in 2011. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo June 2011.

Designed “to celebrate the personal pulse of poetry in the landscape,” according to then Project Coordinator Paul Carney, my poem truly fit that mission. I wrote from experience, from a closeness to the land, from a landscape of understanding.

While the Roadside Poetry Project, funded by the Fergus Falls College Foundation, no longer exists, my poem endures in the legacy of my writing. To have written about spring from the perspective of a farmer’s daughter celebrates my rural Minnesota prairie roots. And spring.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

12 Responses to “Poetry flashback as we welcome spring”

  1. Happy Spring, Audrey! 🙂

  2. Ruth Says:

    Poetry and Spring. What could be better? ❤️

  3. Happy Spring my friend 🙂

  4. Susan Ready Says:

    Happy First Day of Spring!
    Perhaps a DQ visit is on the horizon?

  5. valeriebollinger Says:

    Great poem Audrey. Fun way to display poetry.

  6. LISA A SANDBERG Says:

    YAY FERGUS! We are heading there next month…ready to plant some seeds! Love these billboards…was it part of “Spring Board for the Arts”?
    Yours, Lisa

  7. LISA A SANDBERG Says:

    I read the text this time instead of just looking at the pictures, and answered my own question about your billboards: Roadside Poetry Project! Love it! The Fergus Falls College Foundation has funded so many wonderful endeavors!
    Two cheers for Poetry!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yours,Lisa


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