Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My thoughts following the Uvalde school shooting May 27, 2022

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My tears spill in a fountain of grief at the deaths of 19 beautiful children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo August 2015)

Eliahana

Annabelle

Jackie

Amerie

Xavier

Rojelio

Uziyah

Tess

Alexandria

Jose

MaKenna

Alithia

Miranda

Maite

Nevaeh

Ellie

Jailah

Jayce

Layla

Eva Mireles

Irma Garcia

I SHARE THE ANGER. The outrage, too. The frustration, sadness, grief… Feelings of hopelessness and “not again” and disbelief over yet another mass shooting in this country, this time at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

If the deaths of 19 children and two teachers are not enough to effect change, what will? How often, how many more times will this happen—whether in a school, a church, a grocery store, a movie theater—before lasting change happens to prevent such tragedies? I will never understand why assault rifles are available (and accessible) to the public, why they are “needed” in the United States. There is so much I don’t “get” when it comes to the politics and rights and money that factor into this ongoing lack of action against gun violence.

I share these sentiments expressed by elected officials and other public figures:

  • I am sick and tired of this.—President Joe Biden
  • What are we doing?—Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut (2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting)
  • Stop saying that mental illness is behind this.—Joy Behar, “The View”
  • I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough.—Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr (whose father was killed by gunmen in Lebanon)

When I heard the breaking news of the school shooting on Tuesday in Texas, I thought of my own precious granddaughter, a kindergartner at a Minnesota school. I thought of all those grandparents and parents and siblings and other family members who loved those 19 young children and two teachers from that Texas elementary school. I cannot even fathom the depth of their grief, how their lives are forever changed. How their loved ones went to school that Tuesday morning and never came home.

If the initial outcry and anger remain, then I hold hope that perhaps, finally, something will happen. Something that ends this senseless loss of lives. Something that shows we care more about human beings than money and gun rights and politics and power.

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Thoughts of spring in February February 19, 2021

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Leaves unfurling in southern Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo May 2018.

THIS FEBRUARY MORNING, with spring still months away in Minnesota, I crave a landscape flush with color. Snow gone. Spring flowers popping. Grass greening. Trees budding.

Daffodils bloom in my front yard. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

I think we all need a glimpse of warmer, sunnier days after a wicked weather week across much of our country. I feel, especially, for the people of Texas. The unseasonably cold weather of ice and snow wrought incredible challenges with no power, broken water lines, even death. I feel for anyone living in Texas.

Crocuses blooming in my yard. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Even though we’ve endured a lengthy stretch of subzero temps here in Minnesota, it’s just cold. Not destruction. Not heartache. We can manage and function and mentally remind ourselves that this won’t last forever. Temps are already rising.

Beautiful bleeding hearts bloom on two bushes in my backyard each spring. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

With those thoughts, I searched my files for photos of spring flowers. To brighten your day. To bring you joy. To remind you that in every season of life, we face challenges which stretch and test and grow us. But we can, and often do, come out on the other side as better people. More empathetic. More understanding. More grateful than ever for life, even if it’s sometimes hard.

These tulips were sent to me, as bulbs, from Paula in the Netherlands last spring. I later planted the bulbs in my yard and hope they erupt this spring. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2020.

We push through the difficulties, often with the support of loving family and friends, to bloom color into the world. Or at least that is my hope.

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BE ASSURED THAT MINNESOTA looks nothing like the photos above right now. Snow layers the land in a landscape devoid of color. Under the snow and decaying leaves, spring flowers await warmer days when the frozen earth opens to the sun and sky.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling