ON THE WATERFRONT, there are favorite sights and sounds and smells and feelings. Reminders and remembrances. A stout old chain that moors the dock is a relic from logging days a century ago. Floating ‘spacer’ logs are the remnants of once-tall white pines. A gangplank I constructed 25 years ago with Bryan’s help when he was just a boy, facilitating


ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL DAY OF ROAD SCHOLAR explorations in southeast Minnesota’s Bluff Country. Almost 90 species of birds in two days! Bitterns, trumpeter swans, Sandhill cranes, woodcock, barred owls, peregrine falcons, towhees, buntings, redstarts, warblers, rose breasted grosbeaks, and so many more. Grand weather, beautiful wildflowers, the pleasure of hiking along trout streams, up limestone hills, and through the Big Woods.

IF ONE OWNS or inhabits a piney woods

IF ONE OWNS or inhabits a piney woods, it is incumbent upon you to go for walks in the woods. It is a sin, in fact, if you do not. At least according to the Church O’ The Pines rulebook. And when you go for a walk it is only good form to take a walking stick. An old one.


WHEN WE FIRST CAME TO PINE POINT and the old cabin, the forest was choked with buckthorn. Had to literally fight and chop my way through it. Bought a machete! Along with chain saws, brush cutters, weed wrenches, etc. Even the main lot under the century white pines was bad, and the red pine lots nearly impenetrable. Better now. These

Church O’ The Pines in Interesting Times

THESE ARE interesting times. When we have over 40% of the country happily abandoning every value and virtue they were raised in and once believed in, instead following a Pied Piper of mayhem who says, “It’s great! You can say anything and do ANYTHING and nothing happens. Don’t be suckers! Follow me!!” When we have an entire political party of

Celebrate the Equinox

TO CELEBRATE the equinox and the arrival of fall, Kathy and I took a little day trip to view the colors and to visit the North Shore. It was a misty, foggy, windy, rainy day but the Big Lake—as always—was spectacular. The best colors? Well, right here around home. For another post…

Church O The Pines Sanctuary

IT IS NOT SUNDAY, but at the Church O The Pines the sanctuary is always open for moments of peace, and renewal, and spiritual reflection.… The chipmunks agree to this, as do the deer, bluejays, crows, chickadees, foxes, squirrels, and hummingbirds. Even the wandering local bear. In fact, all the members of our humble congregation believe that doors should always

Road Scholar trip into Voyageurs National Park

AS WE FINISHED OUR Road Scholar trip into Voyageurs National Park, we looked down the lake, down the historic narrows into the past, and there glimpsed a brigade of voyageurs. They raised their paddles in salute, then continued paddling into the pages of history. And our little band of travelers bade goodby to the Canoe Country, taking home with them


A GRAND ROAD SCHOLAR DAY in Voyageurs National Park, as we were fortunate to have friend and head Park Interpretive Ranger Mark Miller as our interpreter/guide, with another friend Captain John as our boat pilot, to Kettle Falls and back. The skies cleared, the breezes blew, the sun shone. We stopped at enchanting I. W. Stephens Island, where Mr. Stephens


SO UP THE NORTH SHORE we went, on our Road Scholar expedition, making favorite stops, doing favorite hikes. Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouch, Shovel Point. But when it drew near time for dinner—at one of my favorite haunts—The Northwoods Family Grill in Silver Bay—the call came on my cell phone. Both our cooks are out, we can’t serve you,