As a child growing up in Columbia, SC, my siblings and I had the awful chore of picking up pinecones in our yard. Our mom would send us out ready and armored for the task either with too big garden gloves or a pair of tongs. The pinecones in our yard were huge and covered with very sharp “leaves”. No matter what instrument of defense we used, the Rauscher kids ended up with sap sticky, bloody fingers. These brown prickly objects were seen more as a danger than for the beauty they are.
Today it amazes me how this plain, prickly pinecone has now become somewhat a designer item. Magazines and Pinterest are filled with ideas of how to decorate with them. Websites and craft stores are stocked with all sorts of types and sizes to buy. Yes, to actually pay money for! I think I’ll stick with gathering a couple of bags full of large pinecones from my mom’s house. I decorated some canning jars with twine and cones for the fall season. Even with blood on my hands after cutting them apart, I like the way they turned out.
I even put some of the “flowers” on a Thanksgiving banner I have hanging on my mantle. (I need to juzsh it up some more.) The “flowers were quite easy to make by cutting apart the pinecone and hot glueing parts to a cardboard base. An acorn was glued to the middle to finish it off.
This simple pinecone is a beautiful example of God’s incredible miracles. It’s interesting that math professor, Dan Reich of Temple University, wrote that Leonardo Fibonacci's mathematical ideas about sequence, such as the golden ratio, spirals and self- similar curves, have long been appreciated for their charm and beauty, but no one can really explain why they are echoed so clearly in the world of art and nature. Oh, Mr. Reich, I can tell you exactly where they came from. As Wanda Ventaling writes in Life:Beautiful magazine, Winter issue 2013
In creation there is no random act of existence- no unplanned chaos; no mistaking a higher power, an intelligent designer, a sole God of the Universe for happenstance. The believer and doubter alike have proof if they but look.”
God didn’t just create pretty things, he invented all things. Ventling goes on to describe the combination of intellect, creativity and mathematics that went into the design of the pinecone.
“Witness the pinecone. This seed-holding castaway of the pine tree seems a lowly creation to have been so thoughtfully engineered. Looked at closely it illustrates the mathematical precision found in every corner of the universe. It features a spiral pattern, just one small part of God’s greater scheme that in totality took him only a week, and that scientific communities still find difficult to reproduce in all its variations. The spiral is seen over and over again in nature. In the sunflower, coiled millipede, weather patterns, vine tendrils, nautilus shell, most mollusk shells, garden snail, whirlpool, Spirogyra green algae, strawberry, pineapple, human finger print, spiral galaxy, hurricane, DNA and yes, in the pinecone.”
In the simplest things around us, God is there. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” Romans 1:20 NIV.