Last Wednesday, lunch time, I hopped on subway train headed to Branch Brook park. I wanted to go to the Basilica Sacred Heart of Newark which was two blocks from the park to listen to the church’s music given to the public only on Wednesday. Walking at the rim of the park I noticed that a few pine trees were very short as if they were very young however they had a lot of pine cones on their tops. I had noticed that pine cones were clustering more on the tree’s top but I did not know the reasons. Cones can stay on the tree for a very long time. Perhaps there are people collect pine cones to sell? Or maybe because cones on the lower parts of the tree fell first because they were older?
When I was little and lived in Vietnam, outside of my elementary school sometimes I saw peddlers selling cards. The peddlers spread the cards on a small plastic sheet. I often stood there admiring the cards. Most of them were Christmas cards with some drawings, sketches, or photographs of cardinal birds, poinsettas, Christmas socks, English stone houses, and pine cones. On the drawings and sketches there was a brush stroke of gold or silver glittering paint or glue to make them sparkling. When my older brother gave me some pocket money I boutght a card, not to give it to any body but just to keep it and watch it.
Since then, I always like the look of pine cones. When my relatives see me taking pictures of pine cones, they think I am silly. They say pine cones look freaky. In every walk in my life, I always slow down to view the pine cones if I happen to pass by them although I do not feel I need to buy them or collect them. Sometimes I want to collect a few pine cones and paint them, decorate them, make them look pretty and photograph them. They smell pretty when they are fresh too.
When I was little, pine cones were the images of a far away place and a promise of an adventure into some unknown culture and climate. Now pine cones indeed bring me back to my childhood when I was a little poor kid standing at the peddler’s stall with a dream to wander.