On grandpa’s property, about 100 yards right of the entrance to the Lair of the Swamp King, there is a unique deer watch that we call, ‘The Pulpit’

It is a small hummock of tall evergreens (hemlock and balsam I think) that is only about 25 yards from a beaver pond. Prominently situated in the middle of this evergreen hummock is an old stump formation that looks like a pulpit. Hence, it’s name.

None of the other guys have ever met the preacher.

I did. Once.

A couple of years ago, it was my turn to visit the the secluded chapel for a late afternoon deer watch. After a long, cross country walk, I could make out the shape of the pulpit. My feet were moving slowly along the forest floor so that my approach would not scare the ‘congregation’.

The afternoon quiet would have been perfect for an old school forest revival, but I noticed as I approached closer to ‘The Pulpit’, that the choir and congregation were no where to be found. Perhaps, the services started after sundown.

Within minutes of setting up and leaning up against ‘The Pulpit’, I heard some splashing from the far side of the pond. Then, I heard a deep, gleeful grunting procession echo across the pond. I crept down to the pond’s edge and was surprised to see a large bull moose standing, knee-deep, in the water. He was looking towards the pulpit.

Thinking he would run back into the forest, I froze and waited. The moose continued to grunt his joyous sounding sermon for another couple of minutes. Then, he jumped out of the water onto the shore and shook vigorously.

Spurred on by a silent, “Amen!”, the moose leaped back into the water and maintained his wild dissertation from the glassy pond. He repeated this process several times and somewhere during his lengthy sermon I made myself comfortable on one of the forest’s earthy pews.

After about a half-hour, the preacher across the pond became silent and made his way back into darkening forest. I was left to ponder about the message I had just heard.

I had a feeling I would never hear or see anything like that again. I waited and reflected beside the pond until the sun began to set.