November Church O’ The Pines

HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES, we have pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that this is-was-has-been the coldest, rainiest, windiest, cloudiest, crummiest Fall on record. Even Dr. Woodrow F. Stump, Woodland Psychologist, the oldest member of the congregation and resident curmudgeon, agrees. He is slightly cheered by the recent election, of which he opines that “You humans may be partially regaining your sanity. Sort of.”

In any case, the weather has been tough. The Church Caretaker (me) left the rolling dock in the river too long and came out one morning to find it completely frozen in with 2” of hard, clear ice. This situation necessitated the finding of a large sledgehammer and a pair of chest waders. The Pileated Woodpeckers were mightily amused by the whole affair, laughing uproariously. The Bluejays weren’t much better. My little Chickadees were more sympathetic, whispering and tsk-tsk-ing from the shore. But they no doubt wondered why their human friend was out pounding the river with a giant hammer. With the help of friends the dock was eventually released from bondage.

Complaining about the weather is, of course, a time honored tradition in any church or rural community, but accomplishes little. And in Church one eventually lifts one’s head and heart in appreciation of the beauties and goodness that surround and support us.

Here Old Man River still flows by in a narrow strip out in the middle of the channel, but the ice is closing in. The morning sun reflects off it gloriously. The wandering geese settle in and gabble and gossip every evening. Yesterday Brother Gray Fox, graceful and mincing, dropped by for a visit. The old ladies of the congregation disapprove and question his moral character, but we love to see him. The Gray Squirrels flaunt their bushy tails shamelessly. The Juncoes busily clean up the crumbs from the table in Fellowship Hall. The little Nuthatches are their usual modest and friendly selves. The Crows occasionally drop by and oversee all with an arch superiority, with many sarcastic remarks and thinly veiled witticisms. The tall Deacons of the forest stand guard over all the goings on. All sense that winter is coming on, and times will be hard.

But for today, it is a cold yet beautiful morning at the Church O’ THE PINES, and we wish you Good Sabbath wherever you are.

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