HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES, IT IS NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR THAT ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION distinguish the Sabbath Day from other days. They seem to treat pretty much every day as simply a Good Day to be alive. In that spirit, we post this Church Bulletin on a Thursday and hope that you, our adjunct congregation, will understand.
This generally non-hierarchical treatment of days, however, does not mean that every day is completely the same. Today, for instance, is a Red Letter day for chipmunks. It is the very first day we have seen them–or rather, one adventurous striped soul–out and about since last fall. How delightful to welcome him back to the land of pine cones and sunflower seeds, of sunlight and spring breezes, as he emerges, Lazarus-like, from a long winter sleep. It makes the Parson smile to hear the muffled, ‘monk, monk, monk’ from the rock wall, and to see little ‘Tail-in Air’ go scampering across the deck.
Meanwhile, another winter-sleeper is with us, as well. Bother Woodchuck, missing these many cold months, is seen galumphing across the church grounds, looking enormous compared to his little striped cousin. He occasionally emits a loud whistle which can be heard all through the woods, thus the folk-name, “whistle-pig.” Woodchuck, groundhog, whistle-pig, it seems all the same to him, and although as a church-member he contributes rather little to song and services, we are pleased with his return.
Meanwhile, our pair of Robins has arrived in the last 48 hours from their winter travels, and chirp ‘Cheerio!’ loudly enough from the dooryard to wake the caretakers at zero-dark-thirty in the morning, if Sparky The Cardinal has not already accomplished that task. The Church Moat (Mississippi) increases daily its population of waterfowl, with Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Goldeneyes, Wood Ducks, Buffleheads, and others promenading along the Church shoreline. We await the arrival of the first herons–it can’t be long. At evening hours we hear the bugling of Trumpeter Swans and Sandhill Cranes in the heavens above the pines. And yesterday I was sure I heard a single ‘cong-ga-ree’ from the shallow bay through the woods, the happy song of the Red-Winged Blackbird.
Where your congregation members are, if, in more southern climes, you may already be seeing and hearing from other migrants who have not yet reached us. Enjoy their music and their beauty–they are a reminder that even in difficult times, the world of Nature is still an inspiration and sustenance, a source of simple joy and companionship. All our congregation wishes you Good Sabbath, even if they do not know exactly which day that is. For we do know that this is our very favorite day–TODAY.