Lessons from a Pine Cone

You see this here pine cone on my desk?  You can compare its size to the college history textbook that is behind it. It is green and heavy with pitch. It weighs more than an IPhone 8 Plus, not sure how much though. If you picked it up, you’d be surprised how heavy it actually is.  Why is it on my desk? Well, because it serves as a reminder to me about how fragile, random, chaotic life can be.


I was walking through our campus this frosty morning with a friend. We were in conversation and in the midst of college students scurry, shuffling, wandering between their classes, when this thorny bastard came down, at the speed of gravity, from the top of a 50 foot tree…and about 5 steps directly in front of me. Close call. There was a closer call though. It fell directly behind a young man, which my friend and I estimated came within an inch of the back of his head… and he never flinched, looked back, or anything. Yes, he had headphones on and was undoubtedly listening to some music I would personally dislike.

He just kept on walking his way while everyone around him had that “holy shit” look on their faces. I told my friend, if it had hit me, it might have killed me on the spot, or maybe I would have gotten to my feet only to start bleeding internally later on, like a guy I heard about who got hit in the head with a golf ball.

How random was that we asked as we kept walking on. I then said, “You know, I bet the Grim Reaper had that kid all picked out and scoped perfectly, did the math and all, and just as he was going to make the pine cone break lose, his cell phone rang and distracted him.”

Funny, but not very. A lot of people die so randomly from tree branches, and weird events, yet we just kind of shake our heads at it all – like we can’t really take much time to think about it because it would disrupt our current theory of cause and effect and personal responsibility for one’s life and fortunes… and misfortunes. There ain’t no room for random pine cone shit in our lives, but they do exist. I have one on my desk now to remind me how fragile, random, chaotic life can be and yet, still miraculous, loving and wonderful.


7 thoughts on “Lessons from a Pine Cone

  1. That quite the story Gary. Sounds like you and the student were two lucky men that day. We are lucky to survive. I remember back in my stupid days, when I used to drink and drive. I left a party and driving on the highway about 120 km per hour, I suddenly felt very ,very drunk and dizzy and driving in all this crazy fast traffic. I still don’t know how I managed to pull over and survive. There but for the grace of God………………..

    Liked by 2 people

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