When I was a little girl, my parents would take us to the mountains for a respite from the heat of our desert valley. I thought it miraculous that we could go from 100 degree weather to the 70s in two hours. Like most fantastic trips, we used an enchanted passageway, in this case a tunnel bored right through the heart of a granite peak, to get to our Uptopia. The tunnel was spooky for this little kid, but I knew if I could brave it out, my beloved mountains awaited me on the other side.
I loved everything about these trips, from the smell of fresh mountain air to the quaint old lodge where we stayed. The Lodge even had peacocks strutting around the grounds, and on one terribly exciting occasion my older brother and his friend lured an enormous peacock inside our room while my parents were elsewhere. We sure knew how to have a good time!
I always made it a point to collect pine cones freshly fallen from the soaring trees above my head. I figured that if you could take sea shells from the ocean and still hear the sounds of the shore when you returned home by placing the shell up to your ear, surely you could take the pine cones and experience the grandeur of the mountains once again no matter where you went. Pine cones still thrill me now, though I no longer put them in my pockets and take them home. I may pick one up from time to time to admire how each one is uniquely colored and shaped, but then I return it to the bower of the soil in hopes that it will grow into a new tree.
For all the years I have been enjoying pine cones, it never occurred to me to wonder what they looked before they turned into the brown pine cones that are on the ground. Sure, I see paler, brown pine cones still clinging to the branches all the time. Then on last week's hike, I practically bumped into these guys on a low branch of a tree:
Bitty-baby pine cones--A new joy for me to behold!