IT’S BEEN A LITTLE WHILE since we’ve seen the cabin-in-the-woods look like this. With more to come. March might turn out to be our first winter month. Koda-the-forest-kitten is not happy. The congregation of the Church O’ The Pines is cold and hungry, so Fellowship Hall is open for business. We think about all our migrating friends heading back home

IF ONE OWNS or inhabits a piney woods

IF ONE OWNS or inhabits a piney woods, it is incumbent upon you to go for walks in the woods. It is a sin, in fact, if you do not. At least according to the Church O’ The Pines rulebook. And when you go for a walk it is only good form to take a walking stick. An old one.

With the Kids and Grandkids Gone

WITH THE KIDS and grandkids gone, the white throated sparrows and many of the loons gone, and Kathy at home, it is up to me to drive north and drop by the island one last time. To check and double check locks and latches and odds and ends, to say a last goodbye to the ‘dear old cabin’ (99 years


ON FAWN ISLAND, we now have a new cabin with running water, shower, and flush toilet. Which is great, and makes Kathy Ann happy. Which makes me happy. But I am still fond of the old outhouse, the Church of Peace, the path through the cedars to the shady bower, a site of solitude and meditation whose charms we have

Industrious and Smart Koda

Industrious and Smart Koda

AT THE OLD CABIN, Koda-the-Forest-Kitten, industrious and smart, has learned a new trick. Koda has long known how to get attention and tell us he wants OUT! Tearing up the laundry, scattering Mom’s desk papers onto the floor, knocking her latch-hook paraphernalia onto the floor, leaping onto and over every piece of furniture in the cabin. Just little hints that

The Pines Whisper

AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES, there is an insistent whispering and shushing in the pine tops, under a gathering overcast. The wind is restless, and the woods seem to be in a waiting, anticipatory mood. The blue jays are restless, too, and in full cry at the slightest disturbance. Other birds and congregation members are more quiet, gathering food


Writing Office

DEAR FRIENDS: Three Things. First, last night I posted about a distressing and precipitous drop of maybe 90% in our engagement and viewership on this page, and I asked for a little help. Somehow that broke through the algorithm ‘blockade’ and responses and messages poured in! THANK YOU! And thanks also for the incredible kind and encouraging words. Second: My

The Bucolic Scenes

The Bucolic Scenes

THESE BUCOLIC SCENES guide a weary traveler down the narrow lanes to the old cabin-in-the-woods. Also known as the Caretakers’ Cabin for the Chuch O The Pines. It is the scene of some Consternation and Commotion over the last few days, as the furnace went out on Friday night—outside temp about minus 5. But with space heaters, a kitchen oven

Winter Beauty

Winter Beauty

AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES someone left the basement freezer open and now we are Narnia. The congregation shivers in their fur coats and feather stoles, and the morning hymns have a bit of a wobble in the high notes. Blue jays holler and shout, nuthatches mutter, chickadees say their names, and pileated woodpeckers, somehow, still laugh uproariously. The

Everywhere is a Scene of Beauty and Wonder

Snowy Forest

AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES, morning brings a world transformed, as winter lays its snowy hand upon the forest. Everywhere is a scene of beauty and wonder. And under a frosted balsam fir ‘cave,’ a little adopted kitten named Koda—a true outdoorsman—follows picture-taking Dad and absorbs it all.