Forget the roses; take time to sniff the pine cones.

 

We have a lot of pine trees around where I live which, unsurprisingly, equates to a lot of pine cones lying about just asking to be collected.

Recognising my need for restraint, these days if I come across a particularly shapely pine cone, instead of adopting it, I give it a pat and then wedge my nose against it for a good ol’ sniff.

Some may call this an invasion of pine cone privacy, but I prefer to call it a trip down memory lane.

The house I grew up in, you see, was dwarfed by the tallest, most badass of pine trees. You could see this tree from a good distance away, and when you climbed up into its branches, you could see for miles across the rooftops of the Adelaide suburbs to the surrounding hills beyond.

 A snap from the family album. I’m sitting on the carport roof with a faceless cat; pine tree in background. I  told  you it was a large tree...

A snap from the family album. I’m sitting on the carport roof with a faceless cat; pine tree in background. I told you it was a large tree...

 I  may  have spent more time above the roof-line of our house than my parents were aware of… My children will never see this photo.

I may have spent more time above the roof-line of our house than my parents were aware of… My children will never see this photo.

It was - and still is - a magnificent tree.

The neighbours didn’t agree. Those pine needles that didn’t fall into their roof gutters left a carpet on the ground that made any prospect of a fruitful garden bed close to impossible.

We understood. Our property was in a similar situation. But there was no way that tree was coming down.

In hot weather, when the pine cones began to open up like little armadillos stretching out their scaly exteriors, our pine tree became the local tapas bar for sulphur-crested cockatoos.

Flocks of these birds would congregate for lengthy periods to pick the nuts out from between the scales of the pine cones before unceremoniously discarding the remains.

Their chatter, and the clatter of falling pine cones bouncing off the iron roof of our house, form part of my childhood soundtrack.

This is what comes to mind when I snort pine cone. And these are the memories I marinated in while I painted this latest piece and sweated over how to make sense of all those crazy shapes and shadows.

‘THE BOUNCER’ – 6 x 8” (15 x 20cm) Oil on panel – On display & available for purchase at The Quoll Gallery in November 2018.

I love that the paintings I create cast me back to different times, people and places in my life. I hope they do the same for you.

Perhaps you have a different pine cone-related memory you recall? Share it in the comments - I’m up for a walk down someone else’s memory lane.

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