Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Hints of autumn in Minnesota September 11, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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ALREADY THE EARTHY HUES of autumn brush the Minnesota landscape. Touches of red and orange and yellow tip trees now spiraling leaves onto grass and asphalt and sidewalks.

I delight in autumn, a season I welcome for the crisp nights that birth mornings of warm sunshine. Each day seems a gift to hold heart close.

 

 

Summer memories fly on the wings of butterflies dipping among fading plants—milkweed and goldenrod and petunias drying in pots.

The air carries the scent of corn ripening, the anticipation of harvest approaching, the promise of the yield.

 

 

And in the evening, when the sun slips too soon into darkness, when I close the windows against the overnight cold, I smell still the spicy aroma of chili ladled into handcrafted bowls shaped of the earth. And I am grateful for this season of autumn in Minnesota.

 

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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Glorious autumn in my Minnesota backyard October 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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I SHOULD HAVE RAKED leaves this week. Should have.

A view of my backyard taken from the back steps shows the one maple tree that has dropped all those leaves.

A view of my backyard taken from the back steps shows the one maple tree that has dropped all those leaves.

But I couldn’t. Couldn’t because there’s something wonderful about stepping out the kitchen door into a backyard blanketed by golden maple leaves.

Focusing up at the leaves still clinging to the maple.

Focusing up at the leaves still clinging to the maple.

Wonderment of color and earthy scent and crackle of dried leaves underfoot.

Garden art given to me by my mom several years ago.

Garden art given to me by my mom several years ago is surrounded by fallen leaves.

Oh, how I love this season, this Autumn.

Garden art still staked outdoors copies the hues of leaves and sky.

Garden art still staked outdoors copies the hues of leaves and sky.

The hues and scents and crispness endear me to October.

Posing Grant Wood style after raking leaves.

Posing Grant Wood style after raking leaves. The ground is once again strewn with a layer of leaves.

I thrilled in watching cousins—my two great nephews and a great niece—gather leaves by rake, hand and wheelbarrow into a pile for hiding and jumping.

My great nephew, who just moved to rural Faribault from Utah, didn't quite know what to think of being placed atop a leaf pile.

My great nephew, who just moved to rural Faribault from Utah, didn’t quite know what to think of being placed atop a leaf pile.

Oh, to be a kid again.

The monster leaf on the left measures nine inches across, here compared to a more normal-sized maple leaf.

The monster leaf on the left measures nine inches across, here compared to a more normal-sized maple leaf.

I marveled, along with Deb visiting from the Iron Range, at the nine-inch span of a leaf dropped by the backyard maple. Neither of us had ever seen a maple leaf so large. She took it back home to show her husband, who’s never traveled south of Minneapolis.

I'm in no hurry to rake the leaves in my backyard. This fountain rests on a patio table.

I’m in no hurry to rake the leaves in my backyard. This fountain rests on a patio table.

Autumn is too fleeting to rake her leaves in, to bag and haul them away in unwelcome dismissal.

I'm still hanging laundry outside and will do so until the snow flies. I noticed how this kitchen towel mimics the hues of autumn.

I’m still hanging laundry outside and will do so until the snow flies. I noticed how this kitchen towel mimics the hues of autumn.

I don’t want this glorious season to depart, so why would I hasten Autumn along?

Flower pots are stacked, waiting to be stashed inside the garage.

Flower pots are stacked, waiting to be stashed inside the garage.

Being a life-long Minnesotan, though, I understand the need to prepare for Winter. And I’ve started. Yes, I have. I’ve emptied flower pots of dead plants. I’ve yanked zinnias from the ground. I’ve hauled fern and cactus indoors.

Every day more leaves drop from my backyard maple. I know I will wake up one morning soon and  the branches will be bare.

Every day more leaves drop from my backyard maple. I know I will wake up one morning soon and the branches will be bare.

The leaves, though, will stay for awhile longer.

A garden art angel I have yet to move indoors.

A garden angel I have yet to move indoors.

Oh, how I love this blessed season of Autumn.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Autumn on my doorstep September 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:32 AM
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The first maple leaf to fall on my back doorstep.

The first maple leaf to fall on my back doorstep.

I DID NOT STAGE this photo. I noted this single maple leaf on the steps leading to my back door (ignore the need for paint there on the bottom wood trim) and the phrase, “autumn on my doorstep” popped into my brain.

I grabbed my camera and, walla, my first post about autumn. Typically I would be thrilled that autumn is sneaking into southern Minnesota. It is my favorite season with cooler temps, crisp air and stunning hues.

But this year, because of our incredibly long winter with a foot of snow on May 2 (I’m not making this up; click here) followed by a cold and rainy month of June, I was not ready for this arrival of fall. I want more summer with longer days and lazy afternoons and not even the remotest thought of snow.

With a little photo editing, I transformed that leaf on my back steps in to hues we can expect to see in a few weeks, maybe less. Have you noticed the tinge of yellow and orange in the trees here in Minnesota?

With a little photo editing, I transformed that leaf on my back steps in to hues we can expect to see in a few weeks, maybe less. Have you noticed the tinge of yellow and orange in the trees here in Minnesota? Or wherever you live?

I’ve lived here 57 years now. I should know better. This is Minnesota. Unpredictable. Weather always changing. Autumn knocking on my door. Should I let her in?

Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling