A Trail Verged with Ferns

ON A LOVELY MAY DAY, it is a pleasure to wander a trail verged with ferns. Here at the Church O The Pines we walk among the graceful, arched Ostrich Ferns, delicate Lady Ferns, sweet Sensitive Ferns and the modest Wood Fern. Along the way, it is good to kneel down for a peek at Jack-in-the-Pulpit as well. It has

What Has This To Do With Being Woke?

THERE IS A LOT OF TALK about ‘wokeness’ these days. Especially from those who were once called conservatives. And I’ve got a word or two I’d like to say about it. But first… I came upon the story today. A nice woman who runs a wildlife rehab facility which, like most, is completely full and overwhelmed. But she quickly volunteered

The Oriole and The Eagle

THE ORIOLE AND THE EAGLE… Today we awaken back in the Pine Point woods—the Church O’ The Pines—after a week leading Road Scholars through the bluffs and valleys of SE Minnesota. In exploring the great Mississippi flyway we encountered scores of bird species, vast numbers of warblers, including the ever-sought Prothonotary—or the Swamp Candle, as I like to call it.

Bluff Country Expedition

SCENES FROM A WALK in the woods with Road Scholars on our Bluff Country expedition. Here at one of my favorite woodland trails along Trout Run Creek in Whitewater State Park. Jacob’s Ladder, Wild Geraniums, Trillium Grandiflorum, Buttercups, White, Yellow and Purple Violets, Wood Anemone, and Wildwood Phlox all brightened the trail sides. Meanwhile we added to our two-day count

Birds and Blossoms

Birds and Blossoms

ON THIS SUNDAY MORN I am back within the friendly confines of the Church O The Pines. It is a good feeling to return after a wonderful week guiding Road Scholars in SE Minnesota’s Bluff Country/Driftless Area. We call the trip Birds and Blossoms, as we haunt the woods, streams, and bottomlands of the great Mississippi flyway. On this particular

The Yellow-Rumped Warbler

The yellow-rumped warbler

MANY, MANY of these gorgeous and lively little birds visiting us this week, and mingling with the congregation of the Church O’ The Pines. They love the suet feeders and Kathy gives them little meal worms as well. The yellow-rumped warbler, long called the Myrtle warbler, is one of the first spring migrants among the warblers. (Who don’t actually ‘warble’

The Snowflakes Fly and the March Winds Howl

THIS MORNING at the Church o’ The Pines, the snowflakes fly and the March winds howl (yeah, I know it’s almost May) and the woodland denizens and congregation must once gain fend for themselves. With help from Caretaker Kathy. I am off to southeast Minnesota—the ‘driftless area’—to guide Road Scholars as we search for spring migrators and ephemeral blossoms. We

Share Books, Readings and Songs

AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES the congregation must fend for themselves this morning—with the help of Caretaker Kathy—as I am tending wayward souls in the wilds of Wisconsin. At Camp Wapogasset to be exact, where I lead discussions and share books and readings and songs, for the participants of Northland Rec Lab, a going concern since the 1930’s. ‘Grandads

Another Earth Day

ON EARTH DAY: If you woke up on Earth this morning, it is another Earth day. As a young lady said to me this morning, there are so many things to fret about, so many things to grieve, many reasons to feel anxious. Many people who don’t care. But there are also successes: bald eagles nesting in our woods where,

Today is a Big Day

TODAY WAS A BIG DAY at the Church O’ The Pines along the Father of Waters. The day the church moat (Mississippi River) opened up a lead along the far shore and began to give way to spring. So far it’s a gentle opening with no ice jam or flooding. But that is still an open question. Still, a big