Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thoughts prompted by BORN 2 RIDE July 12, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Biking along Minnesota State Highway 21 in Faribault on July 2. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo July 2022)

WE EACH HOLD STORIES, some shared, some not. Our experiences, our connections, our individuality all combine to create our life stories.

Recently I wondered at the story of a biker pedaling away from a mini strip mall in Faribault, then turning onto Minnesota State Highway 21/Lyndale Avenue around 7:30 pm on July 2. We had just exited Interstate 35 onto this busy 4-lane when I noticed the bicyclist.

I grabbed my camera to document the scene through the windshield on the passenger side of our van. It wasn’t like we could stop so I could ask questions.

Thus I am left only with clues, including the BORN 2 RIDE mini novelty Minnesota “license plate.” I surmise this biker hails from Minnesota and is a serious cyclist.

The mounded pack and tote on the bike trailer appear to corral a tent and belongings. This seems more a distance journey, perhaps with a cause, rather than a recreational ride.

The weathered signage, if only I could see all of the letters, would help me determine what message the biker wants passersby to see.

A tattered American flag points to patriotism and someone who could be a veteran. Maybe. Maybe not.

There are clues, but not a full story. In general, unless we directly hear individual stories, we are left to guess, to speculate and to possibly even get it wrong. How quick we can be in life to assess, to judge, to think we understand people without intently listening to their stories. Sharing of stories comes only with trust, at least for me. Not everyone can be trusted to keep our stories, to hold our truths, to respond with love, compassion and care.

I am a big advocate of listening, of not interjecting one’s own experiences into conversations in a way that focuses back on us. Just be there. Listen. And react with kindness.

Yes, my thoughts have wandered from that biker I photographed along a busy Faribault highway on July 2. But, like a writing prompt, that scene allowed me to craft a message. A message that we all need to pause, to consider the untold stories, to hear those stories if shared and to listen, really listen.

THOUGHTS?

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

4 Responses to “Thoughts prompted by BORN 2 RIDE”

  1. beth Says:

    oh, i really love this audrey. it’s so interesting isn’t it? like you, i am very drawn into the ‘clues’ when trying to guess someone’s story and also like you, i know we will never know for sure unless that person chooses to trust us enough and desires to share it with us. i think you touched on some amazing details and their possible importance in this person’s life. what do people think when they see me, and what would people think, who don’t know me, based on what i leave behind when i pass on?

  2. We probably all could come up with multiple stories about this picture but none would be as accurate as the one that person spoke themselves. Listening is a very good thing when you can.


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