HERE AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES IT IS A BEAUTIFUL MORNING. The aisles of the Church are just beginning to be brightened by the spring ephemerals. Bloodroot blossoms are mostly curled uptight, gently held within the furled grasp of their single, scalloped leaf. But we were able to find a couple opening up, their bright faces smiling in the sun. The Wild Leeks have been up for a week, and a finger poked into the ground at their base produces that inimitable spring aroma. The Trout Lilies are just rising out of the leaf duff—no blossoms yet, but the smooth, speckled leaf provides the answer as to their name. And under the oaks on an east-facing slope, the Hepatica show their first delicate, nodding blossoms.
Meanwhile, other members of our congregation are busy enlivening the woods. Brother Muskrat is seen nearly every day in his haunts by the footbridge, as is his neighbor, Grandmother Snapping Turtle. The Wood Duck pair also lives here, hiding among the fallen willows. To sneak up quietly to observe them is difficult but well worth the trouble—the drake a colorful portrait of wild beauty created by some master Artist. Sometimes the Blue-winged teal hides here as well, while through Preacher’s Grove on the other side of the bridge we find Duck Bay, where reside our Canada goose pair, and Redwings and Kingfishers and more Wood Ducks and a lovely pair of Hooded Mergansers, another artistic masterpiece.
In the evenings and often throughout the day we are serenaded by hymns not heard the rest of the year—as from the low, watery places the Wood Frogs and Chorus Frogs sing their hearts out. More music was added yesterday as our first Song Sparrows began to trill, and our favorite Up North singers, the White-throated Sparrows–just migrating through– added their pure, high flute tones as well. Each end-of-day at sundown we are treated to lilting Evening Vespers from the Church robins, and from our trusted, year-round soloist, Sparky The Cardinal.
Of special interest, as spring-time reaches its zenith, are the families of the Church. The Fox Family is already well on its way, with four kits rough-housing and gamboling around the Church grounds. Not far away, the Ospreys have reclaimed last year’s high ground, and near the Church Estate, at a secure and undisclosed location, the Bald Eagle pair that moved in and built a new nest this spring, converses in loud and boisterous voices as they guard Their Tree and wait for eggs to produce the anticipated result. We wait, too—and will be watching and waiting these next weeks as many families expand and the Church membership rolls swell.
It is a good day and a good time of year at the Church O’ The Pines, and if you are unable to attend your normal church services at this time we welcome you here, and wish you Good Sabbath.