The pinecone fell at the edge of the lawn. It landed in that confused region neither manicured enough for grass nor wild enough for weed. It was smooth and dark like a single piece of aged leather. Seen through my window it might have been a dropped billfold, a shoehorn or a ruffian’s pocket sap.
I noticed nothing of it then, which is to say it signified little at the time. My thoughts were elsewhere that morning. There was an open letter on my desk; beside it a dry pen waited. The pen would not be dipped that day. The note found its way to the fireplace. The pinecone played no part in this reticence.
A week passed and the afternoon shadows deepened the edge of the lawn. It was the anger of the squirrels that finally brought me outside. They were attacking something, tearing at one another to go after their prize. My dress flattened the grass as I ran, leaving no trace of footsteps. Vermin skittered away as I approached the remains. The pinecone was open now, broken into sections with the interior exposed. I chose a piece; it was singular. It might have been a wooden tooth, a scale of armor or half of a child’s toy heart.
At my desk the last of the pinecone lay atop the fresh letter. I would send it to him, though he would not understand. The lawn was all flame now as a lamp blinded my side of the window.