In Tahoe, it’s an on-year for pinecones - these perfect nut-vessels for new life. They dangle heavy, waiting for the right moment to be jarred into a gravitational escape. Suddenly, from the very top, a pinecone will tumble down, branches caressing them on the way as if cheering them on for journey ahead. I like to think I help sometimes - if I find any pinecone on cement, I move it to the soft grounds nearby, hopeful the potentials within the folds will find a bed for rooting.
Of course, most of this is done by a small, symphonic tribe of hard-working chickarees. Plentiful as well this year, they dart everywhere - frantically gnawing for golden nuggets, scampering with full cheeks, burying as much as they can before winter.
According to native storytelling, the evergreens with their pinecone producing are also offering us a simple message as well:
Rather than one struggling in inhospitable terrain on its own, or one declaring superiority and producing on its own, they speak with each other, communicating “this year is ON!” and produce en masse. They move harmoniously, generously, through cycles of on and off, understanding that joining together creates a better chance of more future trees seeding. They’ve learned, no matter how many chickarees there are, some of their hard-earned, buried treasures will be forgotten, and those nuts will escape being eaten.
So, when the ground thaws again with the spring sun, those nuts tucked beneath warming soil will root and then sprout, cracking through the top layers of earth, bursting into new life, with mom and dad, aunts and uncles, new friends welcoming them. It’s such an intelligent dance between these wise, ancient Tree Peoples - who have been here so much longer than humans - and the animals of this planet.
And we would be wise to listen, because we, too, are better together - stronger, more intelligent, more aware, more compassionate, more in sync with what is and how to best navigate it, more present, more resilient - than we ever are as separated, solely-operating beings.
It’s just the nature of things here on earth.