Church O’ The Pines Sacred Nature

HERE AT The Church O The Pines, we make no differentiation between nature and the realm of the sacred. We believe that heaven ‘is as much under our feet as over our heads.’ We agree with the Zen poet who said, “Green trees, fragrant grasses… a place not sacred? Where?” We know that human beings are natural creatures, as much

Church O’ the Pines: Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center

THIS MORNING’S Church o’ the Pines post comes from Osprey Wilds Environmental Learning Center, where our ‘Writers in the Woods’ group has had a GRAND time this weekend. Sixteen souls sharing thoughts, dreams, words, feelings, fears, and hopes. Sharing their hearts with one another in the most open, caring, and generous of ways. All the while enfolded by the beauty

Church O’ The Pines in Interesting Times

THESE ARE interesting times. When we have over 40% of the country happily abandoning every value and virtue they were raised in and once believed in, instead following a Pied Piper of mayhem who says, “It’s great! You can say anything and do ANYTHING and nothing happens. Don’t be suckers! Follow me!!” When we have an entire political party of

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