About a month ago, walking my dogs, I came upon this piece of a branch in the middle of the road. I liked the composition--the bend in the stick, the one missing cone, the way another cone stands apart from the rest, as if considering its own flight--so I brought it home and set it on an outdoor table. Initially, I saw the branch as an inert thing. So I was surprised to find the cones responding to the weather. After rain, they're shrunken and hard--dark brown pods. When the sun comes back, they unfurl again. I wonder how long this cycling will continue?