The Beauty of a Spring Day

IT IS A GLORIOUS DAY AT THE CHURCH O’ THE PINES, AND WE ARE REMINDED THAT, even in a world bruised by worry and anxiety, it is all right to enjoy the sunrise. The beauty of a Spring day. The flowing of a river. The high trilling of the Sandhills. The song of a cardinal. A soft breeze in the treetops. The tuneless braying of crows and the gossiping of jays. It is good to note the changing of the seasons and to welcome Spring with open arms and open hearts. We have no palm fronds to distribute, but balsam boughs waving in the breeze seem lovely and appropriate.

This was another week of returning friends, and of much activity among our congregation. One morning we looked out into the Churchyard to see seven whitetail deer cavorting about, nosing around in the crumbs beneath the buffet tables. The woodpeckers have been drumming madly on any suitable instrument, advertising their charms to the opposite sex. The resident Song Sparrows and Redwings have returned to their sand spit on the back bay. The chipmunks are back, and it is good to watch their innocent scamperings and explorations about the grounds. Our neighbor Fred set up a ‘critter-cam’ on the trail where I had pointed out the fox’s den, and he captured in mid-leap, a graceful, ghostly, bushy-tailed figure in the dark. Brother possum also made an appearance, snuffling around the camera.

On the Church Moat (Mississippi) the Goldeneyes and Buffleheads, Wood Ducks and Mergansers, are all still here–not yet dispersed to more northern climes. The Kingfishers also returned this week, rattling from branches hanging over the water. Kathy heard the Phoebes one morning, and we hope they will return to their nesting platform under the cabin eves. A pair of Mourning doves seem to have chosen a nesting site down in Gray Fox Hollow, and we hear their soft, “coo-ah-coo, coo, coo,” all through the day. Somehow it–more than other birdsongs–seems to take me back to childhood days. Near the Church Property, two Bald Eagle families are on nests–one a mammoth construction perhaps 12 feet tall representing years of work and habitation, one brand new this Spring. (No names or locations will be released to protect the innocent.)

All in all, it is a fabulously busy and active time here at our humble chapel in the woods, and it is good to report on it to you, our extended membership. Our congregation, as always, seeks to be their better selves on any given day. And they are indeed remarkable in their unassuming diligence, and honesty, and tolerance for one another’s differences and idiosyncrasies. We tend to think of our little group as the best and finest congregation anywhere in the area, but of course, that judgment may be clouded by a slight touch of parochialism. As a reminder of the important goings-on outside the Church Grounds, FB Correspondent and Adjunct Church Member Douglas Mayo yesterday sends us this report from a mere two-hour birding exploration of Bass Ponds Of The Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Refuge (a larger church than ours):

4 Wood Ducks
8 Mallards
4 Canvasbacks
300 Lesser Scaup
6 Hooded Mergansers
2 Ruddy Ducks
250 American Coot
2 Sandhill Cranes
1 Redtailed hawk
5 Red-bellied woodpeckers
7 Downy woodpeckers
3 Yellow-shafted Flickers
1 Bluejay
2 Crows
1 Brown Creeper
1 Winter Wren
1 Hermit thrush
8 robins
7 Goldfinch
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
8 Song Sparrows
40 Red-winged Blackbirds
3 Northern Cardinals

A fine report and we are glad to receive it! Wherever your church or special place of connection to All Good Things might be, we wish you a beautiful spring day and Good Sabbath!

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