AT THE CHURCH O’ THE ISLAND it is a fine and pleasant morning. A northwest breeze stirs the water and tosses the balsam branches around. The sky and water compete for the deeper shade of blue. The white-throated sparrows sing their song, “Oh, sweet, Canada, Canada, Canada.” Loquacious crows fling sarcasms back and forth from the pine tops. Simon the Cat, who has a streak of the hermit in him, relaxes in the absence of grandchildren and grand DOG, and sniffs the morning breeze from a comfortable stump. He does not know that today Visitors from the East will arrive (cousin Terry and his boys and grands) and I have not told him. But they will be staying on the mainland, stopping by the island only in the daylight hours. Nights, Simon may maintain his hermitage.
Meanwhile, we have morning. The arrival of big storms blessed the landscape with rain two days ago, although in this era of climate disruption they turned, as they often do, into a destructive wind event for folks in Ely, causing the cancellation of the annual Blueberry Festival. The blueberry crop is very meager in this drought year, and we are concerned about our friends the bears, and other congregation members who depend upon the wild crops of the forest. Many folks do not realize that the North Woods, resting as it does upon the great, granitic Canadian Shield scoured ten thousand years ago by glaciers, is—in spite of lakes and rivers in abundance—essentially a desert landscape. Only a few inches of duff lie over the carapace, with bare rock exposed in many places. It is one of the features that give to the landscape its beauty. But with long spans between rains, which wash over the rocks and then flow away, little moisture is held for long. The forest needed those rains.
But for today the air is cool, the pall of smoke from fires gone, the breeze fresh, and the lake a gem-like blue. Here at the Church O’ The Island, we wish you Good Sabbath.