A few years ago, my wife Julane and I were privileged to be guests of friends in Hartford, Connecticut, who took us on a road trip to see the breathtaking autumn leaves around that whole region from the Atlantic shore to Mount Washington State Park. Our friends didn’t have to try very hard to convince us that “God paints the leaves, but in the northeast God uses a bigger brush!”
Our home is in the Cedar Forest neighborhood along Pioneer Road in southwest Eden Prairie, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we have 22 red cedar trees on our lot showing us their green foliage year around. Thankfully we also have several oaks and basswoods to bring the color.
But coming and going to our home, we regularly drive up and down Dell Road as it curves its way through the Big Woods that straddles Highway 212, which wasn’t even there when we built our house. Every day our way to and from our home is painted with bright and glorious colors at their peak on all those mature trees!
In fact, when we moved in 45 years ago, Dell Road was only a gravel road that extended just four blocks south from old two-lane Highway 5, dead-ending in a hayfield at 82nd Street. If my recollection is correct, there was much discussion at the old City Hall on Eden Prairie Road (now the Senior Center) about whether Dell Road should be a straight road through the Big Woods or might it wend its way north and south, and even include a tree-lined center median between its four lanes.
And then there are the trails! Oh, those wonderful hiking and biking trails around Rice Marsh Lake, over Highway 212 and then along the old railroad right of way! Wow! Canopies of color suspended over the trailway as if the trees were not only painted by God but also perfectly spaced and planted by God!
We can all thank Bob Lambert, the retired Eden Prairie director of parks and recreation, for our community’s national award-winning trail system! Last week when I was in their neighborhood, I stopped for a visit at Bob and Sally’s retirement home in the country. Bob took me for a ride over hills and trails around his small retirement farmstead on his side-by-side as he pointed out views overlooking Gustavus Adolphus College campus and the beautiful colored bluffs along the Minnesota River. That’s the same river we view from the Eden Prairie river bluffs trail! It’s clear, wherever Bob goes, there will be happy trails!
As for Julane and me, we still cherish our wonderful experience of living for one year in the arid Sonoran Desert in Arizona during my seminary internship and remembering the birth of our first child exactly 50 years ago.
But we clearly remember missing the change of seasons. Her favorite season is autumn, with all its color. My favorite is spring, with all its hope for life and growth again. But we both cherish the change of seasons as calendar pages are turned year in and year out while God keeps painting our beloved Earth, soon to be white with snow!
Editor’s note: EPLN contributor Pastor Rod Anderson serves on the EPLN Board of Directors. Anderson is the former senior pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie. If you would like to contribute a faith-based column to EPLN, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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