AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES, it is a gray, drippy, rainy, foggy, gloomy but otherwise excellent day. Still, the sort of day that indoors is rather appealing. And in the Caretakers’ Cabin indoors is not a bad place to be. Especially this time of year with all of Kathy’s Christmas decorating. One of my favorite things about living in a cabin is that I still feel a little bit outdoors, even when I’m indoors. The big, tree-trunk beams, the high, soaring, wooden ceilings, the log walls, the split log staircase, all give the feeling of being out among my friends, the trees. The cabin windows open out into the forest, just mere feet away, and we are able to watch the deer, squirrels, blue jays, cardinals and crows, and all the members of our congregation, as they gather in Fellowship Hall. And in the warm weather, with the windows cracked open for Forest Kitten Koda to come and go, we are able to listen to the woodland gossip as well. Within the old cabin, built in 1931, we are enfolded not only by wood and trees but by stones as well, with a fireplace built of ancient St. Cloud granite, perhaps 2 billion years of age. All of this gives a feeling of timelessness, of being a small part of ancient rhythms, along with our more temporal family memories and mementos. Of course, Kathy’s Christmas decorations are the veritable icing on the cake, and this season has its own unique appeal. But any time is a good time to dwell within old cabin walls, with the piney woods just out the door. I’ll be heading out soon. Meanwhile, from the Church O’ The Pines, we wish you Good Sabbath.

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