Every day in a beautiful place is a beautiful day

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES a soft quilt of cloud hangs over the forest. It is not an especially pretty morning—no spritely sparkles or brilliant beams of light. But it is a morning full of promise nonetheless. When the boys were little I made up a saying and repeated it often: Every day in a beautiful place is

Gitche Manito’s Owl

Gitche Manito's Owl

ON THIS SUNDAY AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES BY THE FROZEN MISSISSIPPI, the crows are hollering and squalling wildly from the woods. Perhaps they have found Brother Great Horned Owl (or Sister) and are feeling outraged. Again. Crows love to bedevil owls. It is the smiling story of the Ojibwa that when Gitche Manito was creating things, on the

Soft and Far Away

soft and far away

ON THIS SUNDAY AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES the grounds are wrapped in cotton batting. The sounds of the world all seem soft and far away. Even the brash laughter of the crimson-capped Pileated Woodpecker is muffled. The first real snowstorm of the season has left the forest changed. Some of the big pines here have seen 120 winters,

Caretaker and the Cardinals

Caretaker and the Cardinals

AT THE CHURCH OF THE PINES the Sabbath is often a day of rest. But not always. And this beautiful winter day has found the Caretaker out among the Cardinals and Chickadees, still clearing downed trees and opening up trails from bad windstorms of the last few years. It seems an endless project. Hard work. But I don’t mind it.

Promise of a Fair Day

Promise of a Fair Day

HERE AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES, on our Minnesota stretch of the great Mississippi, the day begins with a cold, gray dawn. But along the horizon line there is the slightest pink cast, the promise of a fair day. Under the ice, Minn of the Mississippi sleeps; while above, the downstream geese, gathered at a last patch of open