Trina Machacek: Popping pine cones

A very unofficial poll tells me that four out of six people will vote fall, aka autumn, as their favorite time of the year.

Reasons vary widely on why people choose one season over another. As not to step on falling toes, let me put a few of those reasons in alphabetical order. ABC.

Apples come into season with tart, sweet crispness and the aroma of apple pies cooling in the kitchen. Bursting Colors of fall cannot be surpassed. From leaves on trees to fields that turn from green to a golden hue that also puts out an aroma of earthy warmth.

DEFGH. Deer, Elk, Fish and Geese are all targets for any and all Hunters. I advocate hunting more and more as I get more, uh, mature. I dabbled at it. I was a spotter. I like to go out hunting and just being part of it. But I must admit, I have never shot anything that bleeds. I am more a ride-along hunter. Like the guys who didn’t pull a tag but still go along for the hunt. It’s an amazing adventure. From wall tents that become a second home to the campers, trailers and motorhomes that head out for the rut season. Ha, ha. Hunter’s humor.

LM. Longer nights with time changes and Mornings that chill and cause thoughts of lighting fires in fireplaces or wood stoves. (Bring matches!) Moving down the alphabet of fall, there are parents who do the back-to-school dance. Sending all sizes of children out to experience life and sports and love of learning becoming aware of just how the world works.

That brings me to P and Q. Peace and Quiet of fall that I experience. I am very lucky to live way out of earshot of all things that go bang and clang and honk and screech. Well, for the most part. There are all those things everywhere, but! Yes, a silent “but.” Hopefully, a silent “but.” Ha, ha. But, in my backyard at this time of the year, there are a few days that are so quiet and peaceful.

The wind doesn’t blow, not even a whisper. The fields are empty, not one piece of equipment chugging. The afternoons have this warm glow of fading sun. And then, it happens. The pine trees tell the pine cones it’s time to let go of the seeds they have been nurturing inside.

And then when it is still and quiet enough to hear a pine needle drop, the cones start to pop open. It’s such an amazing thing to be a part of. As I sit on the deck, along the limbs of the pine trees I hear the faint poppity-pop of pine cones opening. I know you find this hard to believe, that I can be quiet long enough to catch this magic. I found it hard to believe the first time I heard it, too. It’s nearly unbelievable to think that a pinecone opening can actually be heard. It happens quietly and consistently in my backyard during the fall. OK, not just my backyard.

Those who go pine nut hunting know that after a freeze, the cones open and the nuts are easier to gather. Those who go out and collect the cones before they are open because they want a bumper crop and not lose one nut will bring the sticky, sappy cones home and wait until the nut holding green treasures freeze in sacks and on tarps because they know the freeze opens the cones. I’m here to tell you that yes, the cones do open after a freeze, during the next days when the sun warms them up. It’s an amazing part of fall that I love and look forward to.

RSTUVWZ. So Run all you can in fall, but Stop in Time for the Unique, Very Wonderful Xanadu of fall with a grand Zest for life. Y. Happy fall, Ya’ll. (Ya, I know Y and Z are out of line. They just wouldn’t cooperate.)

Trina lives in Eureka, Nev. Find her on Facebook, Instagram or at Really!


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