As a child I collected treasure on walks —
sea glass, acorns, driftwood, shells.
My mother honored my discoveries by creating
small tableaus throughout the house —
a woodland scene on the mantle,
a beach scattering on the kitchen counter.
Today on my walk
I found a large pine cone
nestled in a bed of pine needles.
Even though my hands were full,
two rambunctious pups on leashes,
I stopped to scoop up this find
and carry it two miles home.
Pine cones have one primary job —
encase pine tree seeds
in a fortress of woody leaves to protect
them from winter and wild animals.
It takes nearly three years for a pine cone to mature.
Yet, once the pine cone falls,
it opens its stiff scales,
allowing the gentle seeds to move on.
My abandoned pine cone, a parent and vessel,
now sits on the mantle so we can honor
its role in replenishing the earth.