Choir Rehearsal

Choir Rehearsal

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES it is a rainy Wednesday, which is, of course, Church Choir rehearsal day. And the choir is in fine form. The ethereal Wood Thrush is playing the Pipes of Pan from deep in his green loft. The song echoes and trills and fills the woods with an otherworldly music. Even Sparky the Cardinal,

Mother’s Day

Mothers Day

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES IT IS MOTHERS DAY. It is not clear that all the furred and feathered congregation know that it is Mother’s Day, but it seems likely they do. There are bouquets of wildflowers strewn around the woods—Bloodroot and Hepatica, Trout Lily and Spring Beauty. And all the mothers are busy being… well, mothers. Endlessly

Foolish Hope

Foolish Hope

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES it is a fine day to be Church Caretaker. Or Parson. Of which I am evidently both. The chapel and aisles will soon be brightened by snowy drifts of Bloodroot, the blossoms now just beginning to make their appearance; and in a few weeks will be replaced with taller drifts of Trillium. We

Inspiration from the Ashes

WE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES ARE GREATLY SADDENED to learn of the awful fire that has ravaged the Cathedral of Notre Dame. I often feel a parallel between groves of tall trees and the great cathedrals, though I am not entirely sure if it is the tall trees that remind me of the great cathedrals, or the tall

Funeral For Spring

SOMETIMES WRITERS GET UPSTAGED, EVEN AT HOME. OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FATHER OF WATERS, about 100 yards off our shore, the trunk of a great tree has lodged itself in the sand during the spring flood. On that tree, in the midst of our blizzard, now sit about 18 double crested cormorants, snoring and croaking. I remarked to

Old Diamond Willow

IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE TO TAKE THE OLD DIAMOND WILLOW WALKING STICK AND TRAIPSE off into the newly thawed and melted Spring woods. There to make the acquaintance of Wood Ducks and Mallards and Goldeneyes and Buffleheads in hidden spots along the riverbanks. The pleasure is intruded upon, somewhat, by the knowledge that another blizzard is bearing down upon

Share Remembrances

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES it is a peaceful morning. The tall pine deacons stand with their heads in the mist and the river flows by, one assumes, hidden in quilts of fog. Occasionally a floating Goldeneye decides to take to the air, wings whistling, and leaves a dark trail across the water—proving that there is indeed water

An Edifying Snow Day

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES we awaken to another inundation. Limb-sized snow bombs roused us several times during the night, shaking the little cabin—and at least one large limb broke off and fell on the deck. But we arise this morning to sparking sunshine and a barometer that says the storm is past. Yesterday was The Caretaker’s first

Distressed Decisions on a Pleasant Morning

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES IT IS A FINE AND PLEASANT MORNING. In true Minnesota fashion we are grateful that it is 15 degrees below zero in March, and not 35 below. The snow is sparkling in the Churchyard, the stumps all have white, high-top hats on, the tall pines all reach for the heavens just like the

Quilt of Snow

Quilt of Snow

TODAY AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES, all things rest under a quilt of snow. It is a reminder that hardship is often accompanied by beauty. Squirrels bound along, leaving tracks in their wake. The Pileated Woodpecker flashes through the woods, a streak of red and black and white. The Pine Siskins have a one word, hymn, as always–“Sweeeeeet?” The