The Profound Pine Cone

As I sit here writing this there is a pine cone on my desk. It’s not a very impressive pine cone; in fact, it’s bent and lifeless and altogether quite dull. It’s brown and rough and feels like plastic. Some pine cones are open and honest about themselves but not mine: this one here on my desk is all introverted and small. It’s a six out of ten pine cone, at best. A pretty average pine cone, you might say. Looking at it now I’m wondering why the hell I even still have it… Guys, there’s a pine cone on my desk. A pine cone on my desk. What the fuck, right?

But yesterday it meant so much to me.

I was wandering around outside fairly aimlessly, as I’m wont to do, trying to de-stress after an exhausting day of people. See, I’m one of those strange folk who gets tired out by socialising, even with friends, hell, especially with friends, and I think I over-stretched myself yesterday. Breakfast with a friend, a group meeting with three others, a drink with a friend, then a lecture sitting next to two more friends. Fuck, man, that’s heavy. It was frankly a relief when someone else then all-but-blanked me afterwards; any more social interaction and I think I might’ve had a seizure and, like, died, like, literally.

So I went for a walk and found this pine cone lying in the damp scruff by the side of a road. I picked it up on a whim because I like picking up random shit from the floor and I took it into Richmond Park – some of you might know it: a big park in Greater London full of deer and dogs and dudes like me, popularised by people screaming “Fenton! Fenton!” in viral YouTube videos. I wandered around in there for a bunch of hours, well, maybe two or three, throwing my pine cone in the air and catching it again while letting self-pitying thoughts like, “I’d be better off without friends,” “My future and the inevitable change for the worse is terrifying” and “Oh man, I’ve got my Tuesday socks on and it’s Friday” wallow around in my head. I almost cried when I realised that last. I mean, what the hell is the point in having day of the week socks if you don’t wear them on the right day??

When I left Richmond Park, having walked most of the circumference of it, and I found myself in Richmond itself, I took my pine cone with me. I had attached some meaning to it. A memory.  Three hours later when I’d finally trudged myself through the muddy river path back to Kingston, I took my pine cone out of my pocket and looked at it for a second. It looked different. Before then it had seemed shiny and homely, but now that I was back in the city with the Friday night drinkers and the claustrophobic haze of urban life, the pine cone seemed lost, confused and sad. It was so far out of its comfort zone it was like taking a reclusive Buddhist monk to a midnight screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

My pine cone now sits on my desk, at least for a few more minutes while I finish writing this, then I’ll go outside and bury it in the garden with a short eulogy and a tear. Or I’ll shove it in the trash. Whatever. It’s just a freaking pine cone. Point is, I feel like my life is made up of pine cones. That’s not a joke, that’s an honest truth. Seriously, I’m weird.

What I mean is, I attach meaning to certain places, certain people, certain pine cones, and then I…bury them in the garden? Well no, not quite. But I do move on. I’ll take the memories from those things, store them away for future self-wallowing sessions and move onto something new – a new set of house-mates, a new city, a new job, a new girl, whatever it is. It’s the only way I know to enjoy my life. The last time I had something settled, it depressed the hell out of me and I snapped and escaped my life and went to hide in the jungle for three months. Thing is, I don’t want to keep running. I want to find a life I enjoy, get attached to it and stick with it.

I suppose I should stop looking down for pine cones and start looking up for a magical floating wizard in the sky. Sounds absurd but that’s the best plan I’ve got at the moment.

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