HERE AT THE CHURCH O THE PINES it is 124 degrees below zero this morning. Which does not compare with the 147 below we had a week or two ago but is still a bit on the chilly side. But the winds are calm, the sun is bright, and it is a glorious sabbath in the woods. None of our hardy congregation seems to mind the temperature. They pull up their fur collars or drape their tails over their shoulders, fluff their feathers and greet each other around the coffee, doughnuts, bear claws and long johns in Fellowship Hall.
The chickadees, as always, are the most gregarious and cheerful, greeting me at dawn from the kiwi vine against the cabin wall. They then flutter about, singing their two-note spring song. Blue jays are equally chipper, and Sparky the Cardinal, star church choir soloist, has been warming up in the balsam firs.
We have lately had a sometime visitor to the Church. Brother Opossum has been around. His solitary and silent ways do not attract much attention, which is no doubt how he prefers it. But we see his star-shaped hand-prints in the snow, and saw him the other evening cleaning up the peanuts under the flying squirrels’ night-time feeding station. Kathy in particular worries about his bare fingers and toes, ears and nose, and has threatened to knit him some mittens and ear muffs. Which would probably be difficult to put on and get him to wear. So we keep our own fingers crossed for his prospects.
The pileated woodpecker has just flown in and announced its presence with loud laughter as it always does. I think it is a fine thing to hear in a church, and more churches should have it. Loud laughter, that is. There are many other things I prefer about our Church as well, but I hesitate to seem ‘parochial’ or disparaging toward other institutions or denominations. By the way, ours is what they call—I think—an ‘ecumenical’ church, meaning we have all kinds. Furred, feathered, scaly, finny, hoofed, tall and green, short and blossomy—although there are precious few blossoms at 124 below zero. In any case, we at the Church O The Pines all turn our faces toward the sun and wish you Good Sabbath!