Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Color confusion November 7, 2014

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Owatonna stoplight sign

DOWNTOWN OWATONNA, MINNESOTA:

The word reads “GREEN.”

But the visual is blue…

Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

All roads lead “somewhere” March 13, 2014

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EXCEPT IN MY NATIVE southwestern Minnesota prairie, where roads run mostly straight and the land lies divided into field grids, I possess no sense of direction.

That navigational deficiency evokes occasional tense moments when my husband and I journey into unfamiliar territory. We have neither smart phones nor a GPS, only a road map, an atlas and Randy’s sense of direction to guide us.

I always want to know exactly where we are and where we are headed. He, on the other hand, is an adventurer attempting to calm my unease. The road “will lead somewhere,” he reassures, which isn’t at all reassuring.

Which way he asked?

“Which way?” he asked.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, as we drove “somewhere” east of Nerstrand, aiming toward Kenyon, we came upon an intersection of gravel and tar roads. “Which way do you want to go?” Randy inquired.

The gravel road I did not want to follow.

The gravel road I did not want to follow.

I peered down the icy gravel road ahead and thought to myself, “not there.”

Too late. “There” proved to be precisely my spouse’s preferred route.

The half muddy, half icy road.

The half muddy, half icy road.

As the van slogged along the gravel road, marred by mud and ice, I muttered something about “not going in the ditch.”

Left (east) or right (west)?

Left (east) or right (west)?

Eventually we came to a T in the road. “Which way do you want to go?” my husband asked again.

Then he turned left.

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NOTE: All images have been edited because, well, I can do that to make this story more visually dramatic.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling