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Liloriole In Search Of
The Homes Of Fairyland, Part 3


IN OUR CATHEDRAL

Today dawned not upon the earth
as other days have done,
A throng of little virgin clouds
stood waiting for the sun,
Till the herald-winds aligned them
and they blushed, and stood aside
As the marshals of the morning
flung the eastern portals wide.
-- Carryl

To-day has been such a wonderful day in Our Cathedral. You see, there is no church near the lumber camp; but we children of the camp have services in Our Own Cathedral.

Where gentle breezes strive to bless,
And all God's world knows happiness.

This Cathedral of ours stands in the forest -- is a part of the strength-giving forest. Its dome is blue or gray as is the day -- for its dome is the sky. Its pillars are old and gray -- the beautiful gray of the trunks of the tall forest kings, whose branches are ever green.

To loiter down lone alleys of delight,
And hear the beating of the hearts of trees,
And think the thoughts that lilies speak in white,
By greenwood pools and pleasant passages.
-- Lanier

Its carpet is soft and velvety -- is of the mosses that We Children have gathered from many parts of the valley.

Oh! To be friends with the lichens,
the low creeping vines and the mosses
There close to lie;
Gazing aloft at each pine-plume
that airily, playfully tosses
'Neath the blue sky.

The pews are old logs overgrown with moss and vines. The alter is a large old rock -- and vines entwine it lovingly -- and all about it are planted many frail blossoms -- and they grow among the mosses where we have placed them in His cathedral.

And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
-- Wordsworth

Anenores, One-flowered Wintergreens, Twin-Flowers, Spring Beauties, and Calypso carpet the woodland floor. Along the aisle that winds from the entrance to our great room of worship we have planted many ferns -- and along the way the gold and scarlet Columbines. A brook flows at the side of Our Cathedral, and ever and ever 'tis singing a song that makes the hearts of We Children glad.

A breeze came wandering from the sky,
Light as the whispers of a dream;
He put the o'erhanging grasses by,
And softly stooped to kiss the stream.

Herein we met for worship -- Often I don't preach a sermon, but we have a few minutes in meditation.

Listen! The choir is singing; all the birds,
In leafy galleries beneath the eaves,
Are singing! Listen, ere the sound be fled,
And learn there may be worship without words.
-- Longfellow

Now, beside the dear camp children, there are also others who belong to my congregation -- and these attend a part of the time when brought to service. The ones they usually attend are the services I conduct alone on week days. I have endeavored to bring them a few times to regular Lord's Day service; but on account of the presence of the other children they are restless and not on good behavior -- so they are only privileged to attend my weekday services -- which are everyday whether it's sunshiny or rainy, for the Lord God abides in His Cathedral the whole year round. Of course I know that He is very, very busy with so many people now in the world, and all those that have been before. But wherever I go I trust in His great love and am happy just in being a wee part of this great world.
About the attendance on week days: there is Julius Caesar Napoleon -- now he always attends at least one service a week, usually a vesper service -- and at intervals he pokes his nose into my pocket for the grub of a beetle. It was a long time before I could make him understand that even a Skunk must be quiet during prayer or the reading of the Holy Bible. Now the way I accomplished this -- was to give Julius Caesar Napoleon two extra fat grubs just after prayer or reading the Bible -- and he keeps quiet until I am through.

Orlando: "Let gentleness my
strong enforcement be."
-- Shakespeare

Other members of the congregation on week days are: Pliny and Aristotle -- two adorable folks to preach to -- why they keep just as quiet during the reading of the Bible except when a fly or other insect passes close by them -- and being Toads they make the most of the opportunity. Then there are Cicero and Pandora, two dear Chipmunks -- and Josephus Jacobus Benjamin Solomon Rheoboam -- that adorable Meadow Mouse. These are very attentive at services -- except for the wiggling of tails. Then Michael Angelo, the Porcupine, strays in for services sometimes -- but it's mostly salt he wants. Also sometimes Marie Antoinette, a beautiful speckled hen, rides to service on my shoulder. (She is privileged on account of exceptional good behavior during the last year, to attend Sunday services as well as week days.)

And this our life,
exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees,
books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones,
and good in everything.
-- Shakespeare



A wind arose among the pines; it shook
The clinging music from their boughs, and then
Low, sweet, faint sounds, like the farewell of ghosts,
Were heard: O, follow, follow, follow me.
-- Shelley

I walked in the forest to-day -- when the Storm King passed by. The winds, they did whistle and shriek, and the day it was bleak. But I love to walk in the forest on just such a day -- with the wind against my face and the rain upon it. Most o' the wee folk are hidden away at storm time -- but the ferns, they bow their fronds together -- and the trees, they touch hands as the wind goes rushing through. 'Tis then that the Cathedral is as a great pipe-organ -- with many harmonies thereon being played. But first one must have deep, deep within one's heart the love of the forest wrapped in storm or else one hears not these great symphonies that carry one's soul in the storm and above it to tranquil peace -- for the things that sometimes trouble and puzzle me go away as I tramp in the storm -- and in their place comes His abiding peace that gives me strength to overcome the difficulties in the way. -- I think that Robert Burns, too, would have found inspiration listening to the storm symphonies in Our Cathedral.
"There is scarcely any earthly object gives me more -- I don't know if I should call it pleasure, but something which exalts me, something which enraptures me -- than to walk in the sheltered side of a wood on a cloudy winter day, and hear a stormy wind howling among the trees and roving o'er the plain. It is my best season for devotion; my mind is wrapt up in a kind of enthusiasm to Him who walks on the wings of the wind." -- Robert Burns.

Hark! 'Tis our Northern Nightingale that sings
In far-off, leafy cloisters, dark and cool,
Flinging his flute-notes bounding from the skies!
Thou wild musician of the mountain-streams,
Most tuneful minstrel of the forest-choirs,
Bird of all grace and harmony of soul,
Unseen, we hail thee for they blissful voice!
Upon yon tremulous mist where morning wakes
Illimitable shadows from their dark abodes,
Or in this woodland glade tumultuous grown
With all the murmurous language of the trees,
No blither presence fills the vocal space.

I heard again that same sweet song within the woods to-day. It lingers with me yet. 'Twas in the Cathedral I heard him singing. And life is sweeter for having heard his song.
When night comes unto the Cathedral We Children fear not, for God abides within -- and his love is round about us where'er we go. To-night we have been watching the stars.

"These blessed candles of the night."
-- Shakespeare



Silently, one by one,
in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars,
the forget-me-nots of the angels.
-- Longfellow


Warbling Vireo
(Provencial Museum of Alberta)

And God seems so near here in Our Cathedral in the forest. I think that He must surely understand our loving Him.


I hear the wind among the trees,
Playing celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
-- Longfellow

We learn many things from the Fern fairies who dwell in our Cathedral. Some dwelt there before we came to worship in the Cathedral -- others we brought from different places in the valley, and from ravines and canyons. I think that the Fern fairies, too, love our Cathedral. Softly we go among them, and talk with them, and listen unto them. Someone who loves Fern fairies walked with me in our Cathedral one day, and told me of a poet, in a land beyond the sea, who also loved to listen to the voices of the Ferns -- and wrote of their message for the Children of Men -- and this is the message -- the message he gave unto the world as the voices of Fern fairies spoke -- this the message We Children of the lumber-camps love and keep in our hearts -- and that you may know its joy I have written it here as it was told unto me that day when one who loves the Ferns walked in our Cathedral.

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