Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands

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Pine cone heaven

Pine cone heaven

Am I like everyone else? How I sometimes look at photos of a certain topography such as pine trees and sage brush in the sun, or huge tan boulders with a sun bleached unpainted single story cabin nestled amongst them, or some other building or landscape worldwide and have a yearning deep inside me? Without doubt some of these yearnings are tied to memories, but I suspect we each have a secret place within us that categorizes specific preferences that are innate to us, and the origin of those preferences is the mystery and secret that I can’t explain.

This photo of pine cones evokes such a reaction in me. A shot of similar textured or colored crumpled-up paper balls wouldn’t create that response, so there must be something about pine cones that turns me on. Are you familiar with when a cat looks at a bird out the window and does that little chatter? If not, allow me to attempt to describe it: Said cat is studying said bird, but knows it can’t get through the window at the bird, so it chirps this small, quiet “twirrrrrp” in its throat that I interpret as part longing, part frustration. Yes, I’m anthropomorphizing, but that’s my conclusion. I’m pretty sure the cat is not attempting to recreate the birds vocalization, the intent stare of the eyes tell me more.

Such is my gut reaction when a scene in a movie or a photo in a magazine elicits one of those yearnings I mentioned. I’ll also admit that the same thing happens occasionally with a pretty female face. Not just any pretty face, but a specific certain look. So I’m assuming we all have those special images that stir us, either with longing, or a rapt appreciation, maybe even a form of coveting. I can’t explain the yearning, just that it is not universal to all scenes or locations.

I especially do this with buildings and landscapes, but for the life of me, I can’t consciously create one of them, a deep frustration in my life. It’s that old “I know what I like when I see it!” philosophy. From my 40 some years on San Juan Island, a land of diversity with both poor and rich abodes, I can count on one hand the special habitats that meld house, trees, rocks, lay of land, shrubbery, and light that touch that “wow” button in me, and they are not all the product of dollars spent. But, speaking of dollars as part of the equation, were I to win a lottery, that would be my greatest challenge in spending the fortune, attempting to create in reality that vision in my cranium that is “it,” that perfect place. Every HGTV home improvement show I watch, I’m looking with that filter on my eyes. Usually they don’t even come close, which doesn’t surprise me, for everyone is different in what they yearn for….or not!

Photo location: North side of the Friday Harbor Post Office on the path to the bank. These pine cones fall just as I’ve photographed them, you can see the long needles amongst the cones.

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3 responses

  1. k7kfm1

    As Grocho Marx would say” You said the magic words” Those being pine cones, not fir or cedar cones, but pine cones. and Sage brush and the sand colored stones, but you forgot mention the smell of all these things. Seeing is a keen sense, but smell does more to conjure memories than any of the senses. Think of a dark evening with the smell of pine and sage, how does that make you think? I have often realized that I live in the wrong area, I would love to live in Eastern Oregon, where there are Pine and sage to smell, and I will up the ante with the sound of the wind in the Quaking Aspen trees. I cannot get sage to grow in Chehalis, but I have many pine trees, and a quaking aspen to fool my senses into thinking I am where I want to be! and No, I am not fooled!

    April 25, 2013 at 2:09 pm

  2. k7kfm1

    Speaking of smells, I was just remembering the smell of the red volcanic dust powder on the roads of Klamath County especially after an afternoon rain shower, not enough to make mud, but enough to settle the dust! Then I thought of the smell of an old machine shop or automotive garage the old machinery smell colored with old oil and grease. That thought almost brought me home!

    April 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    • You’re oh so right about fragrances and memory. I have used that theme in an old post, which is why I didn’t mention it this time. Your examples are right from memory lane too!

      April 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm

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