Pine Cone

On my way back this afternoon from the magnificent basilica at Mariatrost, I found myself composing a scene for a Wagnerian opera concerning how pine cones occasionally resemble dog turds.

The scene: a spring morning, fresh woodland on the upper slopes. The cold thin air is filled with song as a young man, Siegleid, strides manfully along the path.

The music is in a brisk major key, fluttering with the occasional chromatics of good humour and insufficient oxygen. Perhaps a hint of singing birds or bright eyed small animals that are never seen by the audience, but are nonetheless implied in the high canopies and low shrubbery.

“Ha HA!” Siegleid laughs. “Ha ha-ha ha-ha HA!” he continues. This motif goes on for 32 bars until he finally announces: “you will not believe what I saw. What a thing it was, the THING that I saw. But I saw it not, for it was only in jest that I saw it, and…” he goes on in this vein for another 48 bars before he begins addressing the animals.

“The squirrel may not have seen it, and the songBIRDS! Even if they saw, may have felt that it was not worthy of comment…” there is a tedious ongoing imagined conversation with the animals which is finally capped 120 bars later when he reveals that, “I saw a pine cone, a very normal pine cone on the path of these woods, these GLORIOUS wood, where the air is clear and a man can be strong and brave…” (64 bars of waffle excised) “And ha ha HA! I thought for a moment that it was the turd of a dog! Ha HA! Is that not absurd? That a pine cone might be momentarily mistaken for a dog turd.”

And he can’t just say it the once, and another half hour passes before the lunkhead comes across a ripe hanging corpse that totally ruins his mood, but he still can’t help returning to how amused he was by the pine cone.

If my German was a little better it’d be totally worth writing.