Loose Ends: Pioneer pines

Picking up errant pine cones littering the driveway, the woman suddenly saw them in a new light. The stately old trees were planted by a pioneer family in the 1880s, not long after the original settlement of the former camp on White River. Hailing from Missouri, they missed the greenery that surrounded their home. The hundred cones are pioneer pine cones.
Giving them to her brother-in-law to make a wreath, she planned to hang it on the dining room wall as a reminder of her dear friend and neighbor. The elderly woman had welcomed the family from the very beginning and given them a whole different picture of the neighborhood from the trees and flowers her family had planted.
“I don’t know if I told you but you are living in my family’s potato patch. We lived down the street and walked up here to dig for potatoes.”
The woman smiled at that story, as her neighbor had been passing on small starts from various blooming plants in her yard even though she no longer had a garden. She had tried to encourage the young couple to add their own touch to the neighborhood but not having much success with the flowers or vegetables, the couple stuck to bushes and trees. The elderly woman’s stories of each tree and bush in her yard brought the history of the community to life and expanded the listener’s interest in adding to the greenery. Long after she was gone, the woman kept finding little green reminders of her friend’s dedication.
Looking at pictures from the earliest days of settlement, the woman realized how few trees there were native to the White River valley. She assumed the old cottonwood trees down by the river were the oldest, but she had never learned much about the native bushes and trees. She realized she had always taken the green canopy of trees back east for granted. Her grandfather’s dependence on daily rainfall for the garden meant that there was never a struggle with the hose or the dry earth.
The woman pondered the idea of picking up more of the pioneer pine cones for a local fundraising project which would involve selling holiday wreaths. The attribution of the original owner of the tree that produced the cones would give it a certain appeal. Pioneer pine cones could continue to bring the past back to the present.

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