December 2nd Church O’ The Pines

It is a bleak December day at the Church O’The Pines. The wind rushes and moans in the pine-tops, and they creak and groan with it. The river is all iced over and snow blows and gathers across the ice. The sky is gray and there is a damp and cutting cold. But the humble members of our congregation are all here. A Flicker calls his name and a Red-bellied Woodpecker claims his place at the suet log. The Chickadees sing brightly and indestructibly. The Nuthatches call ‘Yank, Yank,’ a fitting epitaph on the passing of a President whose very life stands as an indictment and rebuke to the current office holder.

But I digress. The Bluejays holler immodestly, and the squirrels flaunt their bushy tales. This has been a busy week for foxes, as a pair of beautiful Grays have visited several times, harvesting Thanksgiving leavings and old cat food. Yesterday, on an Explore through the woods I came upon a ‘playground’ on an icy narrow inlet across which I have built a footbridge. (I am to my knowledge the only person who has personally built a bridge across the Mississippi. For it IS the Mississippi, it holds Mississippi Waters, and I connected one shore to the other. Those, like my son, who argue with me about this point are incorrect, and ungenerous.) In any case, a dizzying array of Fox tracks on the snow-covered ice showed a clear story of much gamboling and leaping and sliding and skidding and playing between a pair of these lovely creatures, and I spent a happy hour deciphering it all.

On this Sunday the congregation gathers to visit and gossip (there is much hand-wringing and consternation among a certain element about the interloper foxes) and to share the bounty of the tables in Fellowship Hall. We do our best to be charitable and kind and virtuous as we are given the light to see such things–and within the constraints of personal imperfections and foibles. And all here at the woodland congregation sincerely wish each of you a hearty Good Sabbath!

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