Last update:1/27/2008

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"Who are ye then,
the lordly chase
that follow in this perilous wood?"

Luthien and Beren

Lorien Dell emerged from the integration of three loves: (1) the imagery of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and related stories, (2) our love for God and the pleasant acres He has provided us, and (3) being introduced to the most wonderful breed of dog in the world, Bernese Mountain Dogs. Lynn's desire to become a breeder grew out of an appreciation for the Bernese we met during our eight-year sojourn in Germany. We chose our home in Divide, Colorado partly because it was the perfect place to raise Berners: cool, (at an elevation of 9300 feet), spacious (10 acres of woods, three acres of fields) and secluded, (a few miles northwest of the foothills of Pikes Peak), yet not too far from city amenities.

The atmosphere in the Ring stories is realized here; for us, it has been a blessed land, protected from harmful change and filled with timeless beauty.

Three Seasons at Lorien Dell
" Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall "

We should explain that our romance with Tolkien's stories began in the late sixties, by way of Lynn's university life in English literature and George's penchant for fantasy reading while in the military. Both of us had read Tolkien, and Lynn always kept a place for Middle Earth in her heart. Her yearly re-reading of the Ring stories was to her like coming home after a long journey -- seeing all the familiar scapes, listening to old friends telling old stories -- often in song, but always bringing into it the life of the teller and his part played, here fit into the whole at last; and the heart life of her as reader restored by its pilgrimage into a world where, in the end, good does overcome evil -- because the power of good is always stronger than that of evil.
Our raison d'etre is somewhat eclectic: we believe in a God who cares that, whatever we do, we do it toward Him with our whole hearts. This includes George's work as a Defense contractor, Lynn's past life as a university English literature teacher and our mutual love for Berners. Our vision of being a Berner family began after George's work took us to Germany in 1985. At the time we thought we were being diverted from our goal to settle in Colorado.
We had determined to make our home in Colorado while living in Hawaii, where we had met, married and completed our human family with a daughter and son. However, after leaving Alohaland, with a brief time in Silicon Valley, we spent the next seven and half years in Europe, where we experienced the blessings of living in another culture, more travel than we could ever have imagined, met wonderful new friends, and were enriched with diverse forms and expressions of culture and worship. When we finally returned to America, it was with a much deeper appreciation of America's freedoms.
We discovered Lorien Dell during a "home leave" while we lived in Europe. March can be bleak in the Rockies, but to our eyes, when we entered the driveway through blue spruce and leafless aspen, it was lovely.
Springtime in the Rockies
"It looks like Lothlorien!" we agreed.
Our first spring established that feeling with full "leaves of Lorien" aspen shading hundreds of wildflowers made especially lush by the land's north-facing slope and subterranean streams.
Rocky Mountain Iris
Evening Primrose
Black Elderberry Colorado Blue Columbine
Then, on a snowy April day in 1998, our house caught on fire. Lynn was the only human home at the time; she and the Berner children escaped out the back door while she frantically called 911..... Volunteer firemen are readily not available on weekday afternoons. . . but they did their best.

Even today, the experiences of sudden destruction and fresh assessments of what is really valuable on this earth continue to combine with new understandings of God's plans of restoration. We now have a clearer basis upon which we can build the foundation and texture of our new life.

" close to home, and yet so far away - I'm going to go back there someday."

Our house is now restored -- better than ever, and, more recently, we survived the threat of the Hayman Fire.

Why Lorien Dell? In considering how we should christen our new home and its woods, we decided on Lorien Dell: Lorien was borrowed from Lothlorien, Galadriel's realm. Our first impression of Lorien Dell had been one of enchantment. Our land is a dell (it curves and slopes to our house), so we took Dell from Rivendell, Elrond's dwelling in Middle Earth -- by tired travelers called "the last homely house."

'There lie the woods of Lothlórien!' said Legolas. 'That is the fairest of all the dwellings of my people. There are no trees like the trees of that land. For in the autumn their leaves fall not, but turn to gold. Not till the spring comes and the new green opens do they fall, and then the boughs are laden with yellow flowers; and the floor of the wood is golden, and golden is the roof, and its pillars are of silver, for the bark of the trees is smooth and grey!' --FotR, "Lothlórien"

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If Tolkien had known Berners, they would surely have found their way into The Golden Woods. With their unusual understanding of their humans and uncanny communication skills, they're just a small step from the noble creatures of Middle Earth. We suspect that the enchanted forest is still glimpsed through a Berner's eyes, and the dance of sun on his soft fur suggests that clumsy fairies are still around us, determined to delight.
The sign over the driveway entrance served to complete the restoration of our home at Lorien Dell.