Church O The Pines Sanctuary

IT IS NOT SUNDAY, but at the Church O The Pines the sanctuary is always open for moments of peace, and renewal, and spiritual reflection.… The chipmunks agree to this, as do the deer, bluejays, crows, chickadees, foxes, squirrels, and hummingbirds. Even the wandering local bear. In fact, all the members of our humble congregation believe that doors should always

CHURCH O THE PINES August morning

AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES it is a gray and slightly gloomy August morn, but no one seems to mind. The bluejays shout their names and utter all manner of other vocalizations. Chickadees announce their name as well. (Evidently it is a thing in our church to arrive broadcasting your own name.) Goldfinches sing sweetly. Chipmunks chip and woodpeckers

Growing Bonsais

AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES, surrounded by so many glorious trees, it may seem odd to spend so much time and trouble on little trees in pots. Bonsais. But if you love trees, you love trees. And the process of helping them to grow—protecting, nurturing, shaping them—is richly rewarding. Although larger scale forestry is certainly rewarding too, it cannot

A Good Day to Be Alive

ON THIS SUNDAY at the old cabin in the Church O’ The Pines, it is a fine day to be a goose, gabbling from the river. Or my favorite songster, the wood thrush, singing ethereal songs from the deep woods. Or my old friend Sparky the Cardinal singing his own heart out, or a flame-sided orilole flashing across the yard

The Grandson Humor

FROM THE DEPARTMENT of 9-year-old grandson humor here at the Church O The Pines: Knock-knock. Who’s there? Panther. Panther who? Panther what you wear on your legth. OR… What did the fisherman say to the magician: Pick a cod, any cod. OR PERHAPS… How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? 10 tickles. AND FINALLY… It’s inappropriate

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

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