Pine Cones

Kamloops, BC/Winnipeg, MB

I moved around a lot as a kid. Like, a lot. No, I wasn’t an army brat, things just kind of worked out that way for my family. My grandfather, though, was in the army and when he retired, he and my grandmother chose to settle in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They lived there, in the same house, for the next 25 years.

When my grandfather died, my mother and I went to Winnipeg to pack up the house so we could move my grandmother closer to the rest of the family. I, of course, was grieving the loss of an important man in my life, but I had an extra sadness that I couldn’t understand –not until I realized that the house we were packing up had been the most constant home I had ever had in my life. For 25 years it had been a home to me and I couldn’t bear the thought that I’d never see it again. I decided I needed to take a piece with me, something tangible that would last for a long time. I collected some pinecones from the yard and I keep them in the antique hand woven basket from the guest room I’d always stayed in.

When I look at them, I am taken back to the moment I left that house for the last time. I’m in the backseat of the car, as it drives away. I am staring out the rear window as my home gets smaller and smaller. I cherish these pine cones for keeping me connected to the memory of that moment, and all those that came before. The memories of home.