Return from Warm and Sunny Florida

THIS MORNING the Church O’ The Pines awaits us as we return from warm and sunny Florida. We know that a temperature differential of 90 degrees or so will greet us. But we will also be greeted by Sparky the Cardinal and our little chickadee friends. By the Three Crows and the resident opossum. By fox and otter and white

Under One Sky and Upon One Earth

HERE AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES it is a gorgeous morning as we cast our eyes heavenward. Green trees, blue sky, gauzy white clouds drifting over. But there are forecasts of impending arctic fronts, snowstorms and blizzards, earthquakes, tornadoes, and tsunamis. While more seriously, halfway round the word, we hear forecasts and drumbeats of imminent invasion and war. And

Inches Toward Spring

AS THE CALENDAR INCHES TOWARD SPRING, as the chickadees sing their bright, two-note song (they’re saying, “Spring’s here,” in case you wondered) my thoughts begin to turn toward the Road Scholar trips I’ll be guiding this coming summer. And to memories of the many wilderness trips I’ve led in the past. One of my favorite parts of every trip was

The View From the Caretakers’ Cabin

THE VIEW FROM the Caretakers’ Cabin into the beams, rafters, and steeples of the Church O The Pines. It is a good view, particularly on a Sunday morning, particularly backed by a dome of brilliant blue. And it helps to have crows hollering from the rafters as well. It is important to keep things real and down-to-earth and lively in

Glorious Sabbath in The Woods

HERE AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES it is 124 degrees below zero this morning. Which does not compare with the 147 below we had a week or two ago but is still a bit on the chilly side. But the winds are calm, the sun is bright, and it is a glorious sabbath in the woods. None of our

Orchids Never Lie

ORCHIDS NEVER LIE. They are not fools or idiots. They do not march behind fools and idiots. They bring no ugliness into the world. They pollute nothing, spiritually, mentally, or physically. They are simply themselves, and in being themselves, they speak of beauty and integrity. What I say of orchids can be said as well of oak trees, and pines.

The Ancient One Speaks of Family

IN MY BOOK, Old Turtle:Questions Of The Heart, the ancient one speaks of family. This is what she says, when asked by a little girl: “Family is the doorway into the house of life, little one. When you are very young, your family is all the world and everything in it. The stars shine in your father’s eyes, the sun

Questions Of The Heart

IN MY MOST RECENT OLD TURTLE book, ‘Questions Of The Heart,’ the wise old heroine speaks to some of the great concerns of life. She speaks of love, of play, of sorrow, of family, of death, of the meaning of life itself. In the section quoted below, she speaks directly of evil. During a time in which lies are labeled

Late Afternoon Walk Along The Riverbank

YESTERDAY WE SET OUT from the Church O’ The Pines estate, bound for the wilds of southeast Minnesota in search of eagles. A search well-rewarded. Today we returned to the Church grounds, and I set out for a late afternoon walk along the riverbank in search of… whatever. What I found, in addition to a pretty sunset, was otter sign!

A Little Break to Search for An Eagles

TODAY WE TOOK a little break from caretaking the Church O’ The Pines, and headed southeast toward the Bluff Country of Minnesota in search of eagles. And we found them—dozens of them! The iPhone camera does not capture them well, although you can see one soaring over the Mississippi here. Perhaps a real camera with a zoom lens lies somewhere