Have you ever seen an object for the first time and felt so drawn to it that you would never forget how it made you heave and sigh and feel warm inside despite the snow of winter? That’s how I felt when I saw that pine cone, the giant one in the bathroom of my sister, Terrie, who lived in Kansas with her family. That’s when I fell in love with pine cones.
I like to think I’m scientific and sensible, even if sometimes I know there’s more to this world than science, and that things unproven or declared a fantasy may be true. But I think I felt so mesmerized by the pine cone because there was some sort of airwave that made it touch my pineal gland, the gland in the brain that’s named after pine cones.
The pineal gland produces melatonin, which helps us sleep, rest, and dream. And I have very vivid dreams. Sometimes my dream seems so real that at a certain point I feel distressed. Then, I walk my brain backward, realize I’m dreaming, and resume the dream reassured. At other times my dreams are so strong that I wake up thinking it must be nighttime. Or, I forget my address because in my dream I lived somewhere else. It’s all a lot of fun when you think about it. Reality is good, but dreams can make reality interesting and exciting.
When our family went to Virginia, we lived in the house of our niece, Kara. She had a pine tree in front and she said Kat and I could get the pine cones. Of course, I didn’t plan to get every single pine cone, but my then nine-year-old daughter kept telling me “this one” and “that one” and the needles pricked my hands and arms and before I knew it, we had every single pine cone from the tree.
When I remember that story, it reminds me of how she is now. She once told me a story about her and her travel buddy. When they visit a country, she wants to see all the 22 temples that the country has. Her travel buddy wants only to see the top three. So they negotiate and may end up seeing eight temples.
I ramble. Because what I really wanted to say is, the pine cones were placed in a box and we brought them to the Philippines. When we opened the box, a magnificent aroma emanated. And I noticed when the pine cones are wet they close. But place them under the sun, and they open again, still fragrant. I still have some of those pine cones from 20 years ago. Recently, I told my maid that they would close when wet and open when dry. She was doubtful, so we wet a few and left them under the sun. Yes, 20 years later, the pinecones are still opening and closing.
When I was in New Zealand, I saw a huge pine cone in a chocolate store. However, it wasn’t for sale. A few days later we went to a vineyard and then crossed to a field lined by giant pine trees. And there, on the ground, was a giant pine cone that was reminiscent of the first pine cone I saw followed by an airwave to my pineal gland. All at once, I remembered the first pine cone I fell in love with in the bathroom of my sister’s home in Kansas. In fact, I found three of them that day and felt particularly blessed.
The other day I held the pine cone, the size of my hand, and placed it on my lip and nose, and inhaled. It was absolutely lovely.
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