Hello Friends and Family,

Minnesota, 1972

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Mention Minnesota and everyone thinks of bitter cold and huge piles of snow. But all that is preceded by pleasantly cool temperatures and colorful leaves.These leaves may be past their peak but they are still a joy to view. Plus once the first frost occurs, NO MORE MOSQUITOS!!!

Just 20 miles or so east of the Twin Cities one finds the Saint Croix River and on its banks lies the town of Stillwater. The river has provided food and transportation for Native Americans and later settlers for ages — and now it also provides electricity from a hydroelectric dam operated by Northern States Power Company. Wisconsin's western border is found along an imaginary line in the center of the river.

The river also provides a home and source of moisture for myriad trees with colorful leaves for us all to enjoy.

Finally, we see a tree that is only slightly past its prime as far as colorful leaves are concerned.

And here is one that graces a residential street in the town of Stillwater itself.

And I found another one.

Wikipedia provides a bit of history — "On July 29 and September 29, 1837, treaties were signed between the US government and the local Ojibwa and Dakota nations that allowed settlement in the St. Croix Valley. The town was founded by settlers drawn by the area's then-abundant lumber and river traffic, making it one of Minnesota's oldest towns, preceding Minneapolis by several years. Stillwater was officially incorporated as a city on March 4, 1854 (the same day as St. Paul). Stillwater is often referred to as the birthplace of Minnesota. In 1848, a territorial convention that began the process of establishing Minnesota as a state was held in Stillwater, at the corner of Myrtle and Main Streets. Minnesota officially became a territory in 1849 and a state in 1858."

Just as colorful leaves follow after the first frost, snow will follow shortly behind. Many folks from other parts of the country overestimate the amount of snow that the Twin Cities receive each year. And they underestimate how bone-chilling cold it gets. Once it gets really cold, it is just too frigid for clouds and precipitation to form. Clear and cold!

Regardless, my parents and baby sister come to visit after the first snows arrived. Living in South Florida at the time, they didn't experience much snow (like none!). My parents saw snow in their growing up years and early married life in Maryland but let's just say, it had been a while.

So we got out the good ol' Flexible Flyer sled and hit the snowy hillsides. BTW, did you know that Flexible Flyer sleds are still manufactured and sold? That news made me feel so good even though we don't have much use for them in Phoenix — "best sleds in the world", we always said. It would have been quite sad if they went out of business.

I think our mom relived some of her youth — she sure seemed to enjoy the sledding.

Mother and daughter seem wonderfully content.

Hey Lisa, you're looking good, kid. Come back anytime.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com