There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

pine cone abundance

THE PINE CONE crop this year has been extremely abundant. According to folklore an abundance of pine cones predicts a harsher than normal winter. In understanding the natural cycles in pine cone production, this abundance is called a mast year. This means large numbers of cones (along with nuts and berries) provide a greater than usual amount of seeds for wildlife. This is, in a large part, why pine cones have been a recurring theme in my creations for my blog.

PATTERNS OF NATURE | The amazing texture of a pinecone is gloriously replicated in this oversized mercury glass kugel placed among the gifts at the base of the tree (from a past season's Martha Stewart line at Macy's).
THE HIGH LEVELS of fat and protein in a fall masting help contribute to fat stores necessary for migration, hibernation and survival of young animals once they are out foraging on their own. There is much abundance to be seen all around in the simplest gifts of nature, even if times seem dismal in our increasingly anthropocentric lives.

BECAUSE OF the masting seed cone production, Mother Nature helps ensure that there will be plenty of seeds left over for young conifers to spring up in the woods to continue its magnificent cycle. Consider this rich symbolism when you're ritualistically decorating a tree in your own home.

NATURE STUDY | The seeds of conifer trees called pine cones are represented well in all their stunning variety with my growing collection of mercury glass ornaments.
LIGHT FANTASTIC | These tiny warm white LED lights add just the right amount of magical sparkle and hide well within the branches of the tree without it looking like a jumble of wires. The best ones I've seen can be found at Restoration Hardware and are appropriately called Starry Light Strings.
ONCE AGAIN, I present my ever-growing "mast crop" of glass pinecone ornaments. It was 2005 when I last decorated a real Fraser Fir with these, complete with candles, which was finally posted online the year I started this blog in a post entitled "Tree of Light." This holiday season, you will find a 2-page book excerpt with the photos from this post and one created especially for the book published in FOLK magazine (click here or on the cover link in the left column for information on ordering). You may also order my book at a $10 discount by clicking here using the code GIVE10 at the checkout.

SIMPLE ELEGANCE | Instead of blowing up the top of your tree with an explosion of glittery floral picks, huge bows and otherwise, the understated and simple elegance of an old-fashioned finial topper is the way to go. This retro-inspired topper is from a past line of ornaments for Target by Thomas O'brien.
THESE GLASS CONES have become magical symbols of fertility to create abundance in my life and in the lives of those whom I love. In 2005 when I lost both of my parents within months of each other, I didn't know that I could even muster the energy to decorate a tree, but the absolutely perfect fir tree found me that year and I had to honor its life, even in the absence of the people who brought me life, I set out that year to create a tree that exemplified what one of the first holiday trees might have looked like. Have a look back at the post again here to see this tree.

WITH MUCH TALK about a impending gloomy "end of the world" this year with the seeming "end" of Mayan calendar, I choose to believe that it is just the "end of the world as we know it."  A compassionate Evo Morales, President of Bolivia said it best in addressing the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly this past September. I end my post with these hopeful thoughts of an abundant new beginning of a more biocentric life for the world—as translated in English from President Morales address to the group:

"And I would like to say that according to the Mayan Calendar the 21st of December marks the end of the time and the beginning of non-time. It is the end of the Macha and the beginning of the Pacha. It is the end of selfishness and the beginning of brotherhood. It is the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism . . . the 21st of December this year.

The scientists know very well that this marks the end of an anthropocentric­ life and the beginning of a biocentric life. It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love. The end of lies and the beginning of truth. It is the end of sadness and the beginning of joy. It is the end of division and the beginning of unity. This is a theme to be developed, that is why... we invite you, those who bet on mankind, we invite those who want to share their instances for the good of mankind . . ."
collecting, photography and styling by Darryl Moland



  1. This is so lovely! Many years ago my high school colors were purple and gold so I've always had a nostalgic fondness for that particular color combination. I have to say your hues are much lovelier than MAHS's ever were. Thanks
    for brightening my holiday season with this one :).

  2. Gorgeous as always.. I want that backdrop and little table too. BRAVO... the most inspiring trees come from this man and his cat (s).
    Best, Matthew

  3. Replies
    1. It's always nice to know people that share my obsession. Thank you!

  4. I love your post on pinecone ornaments and trees.