Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Fleeting fall thoughts from Faribault November 4, 2022

Colorful trees photographed from my backyard. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo mid-October 2022)

WE KNOW IT’S COMING. Winter. Yet, we Minnesotans hope for one more glorious autumn day. One more day of warm temps. One more day of no snow. The reality, though, is that this is November and the weather can shift just like that to cold, grey and, well, seasonal.

A maple on my lawn in all its fall glory. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo mid-October 2022)

With the exception of minimal rain in an already drought-stricken state, this fall in southern Minnesota has been exceptional with many sunny, warm days and lovely fall colors.

Autumn brings lots of yard work (like raking leaves) in preparation for winter. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo mid-October 2022)

Minnesota fully embraces autumn with unbridled enthusiasm. It’s as if we need to pack in as much as we can, outdoors especially, before we settle mostly inside for the winter.

The restored clock on the historic Security Bank Building in downtown Faribault. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo September 2015)

The end of daylight savings time this weekend signals that seasonal shift. It will get darker earlier and that, psychologically, triggers an awareness of winter’s impending arrival. I find myself just wanting to stay home in the evening, snuggled under a fleece throw reading a good book.

A page from “Count Down to Fall” in the current StoryWalk. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo October 2022)

Sometimes that may be a children’s book. Picture books aren’t just for kids. I find the stories and illustrations therein inspiring, entertaining, informative, poetic. In Faribault, Buckham Memorial Library even brings picture books right into the community via a StoryWalk. Pages from a selected picture book are posted in protective casings along several blocks of Central Avenue to the library. The currently featured book is Count Down to Fall written by Fran Hawk and illustrated by Sherry Neidigh.

Book cover source: Goodreads

Recently I listened to Children’s Librarian Deni Buendorf read the book online. I love her enthusiasm as she reads page after page of this rhyming story focused on different leaves—painted maple, oval birch, craggy oak… It’s a perfect autumn read.

Book cover source: Goodreads

Soon this season ends and we enter the long, hard winter months. Interestingly enough, I am currently reading Cindy Wilson’s award-winning The Beautiful Snow—The Ingalls Family, the Railroads, and the Hard Winter of 1880-81. Lest I think winters now are sometimes difficult, I need only reference this book of nonfiction to understand that I have nothing, absolutely nothing, to complain about in the year 2022. Remind me of that come March.


NOTE: In a project similar to Faribault’s StoryWalk, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport features a Minnesota-authored children’s picture book on panels placed between gates C18 and C19 in Terminal 1. Each book is in place for two months in this Picture Book Parade.

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


13 Responses to “Fleeting fall thoughts from Faribault”

  1. beth Says:

    these beautiful displays offered up to us in nature, are a gift before the season on rest and renewal. I agree that children’s books are for all ages and resting and slowing things down is a natural state of being for us during the coming season.

  2. Interesting about the airport. I almost never go to C but now the military service lounge in s located there and I will look for those panels next time I am in town.

  3. JanBeek Says:

    Yes, Audrey, I agree with the: “…need to pack in as much as we can, outdoors especially, before we settle mostly inside for the winter” … because here in Montana we already have seen the last of our beautiful autumn colors. Snow has arrived. It was a lovely fall this year, though… and longer than usual. Thanks for the book recommendations. Warm fires and cuddly blankets, here I come!

  4. Valerie Says:

    As you know, I love children’s books! Thanks for new titles to look up and read.

  5. Susan Ready Says:

    Minnesota fully embraces autumn with unbridled enthusiasm. It’s as if we need to pack in as much as we can, outdoors especially, before we settle mostly inside for the winter. Love this comment and your book reviews. As I drove the old Santa Fe trail recently I couldn’t help but think of how difficult the trip was westward for people as they dealt with weather and a harsh landscape. Much like the long winter experienced by the Ingalls family.
    Great posting today!!


    The Beautiful Snow is a very well researched book. I heard Cindy Wilson speak and of course, had to buy the book. I wanted to learn where the actual railroad cut is as described in The Long Winter. I too will try to remember the winter of 1880-81 and not complain!

    • Colleen, how wonderful that you heard Cindy Wilson speak. She also spoke in Faribault, but I was unable to attend because of other plans. I agree that her book is well researched. Having grown up in southwestern Minnesota, I know the locations and also can relate to winters on the prairie. What I found interesting was how the issues back then (supply chain, for example) are similar to today, just with different causes. And even then, like today, there’s so much blaming.

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