Leeanna passed through the trees, a mere shadow amongst the towering redwoods dozens of feet above. She often wandered this very path on days when everything seemed to slip sideways and nothing could be grasped nor understood. The path seemed to almost remember her.
Crescent City, California might as well be light years away when Leeanna walked here. Up ahead a pine cone dropped to the forest floor. She stooped for it, feeling its rough ridges and coarse texture with her fingers. Today she wrestled with purpose once again. If only she had gotten a different degree, if only she had stuck longer with the one professional job she’d had in a line of dead beat, dead end jobs, if only she had been made differently, more conformed to the fast-paced world around her.
She had read somewhere that only 7% of the redwood pine cone seeds actually resulted in a tree. The object in her hand was very likely sterile, just as her life felt. Still there was a chance it could produce a tree, and some day, perhaps hundreds of years from now, it too would tower with the others above her, long after her own journey had ended.
A sharp breeze carried a slight smell of the ocean. Just for fun she held the pine cone up to her ear, wondering if it would sound of the forest, like a shell with the sea. The breeze came again, this time with a pungent moist dampness to it that made her shiver. With pine cone to ear, she thought she heard her name being called.
She swung her arm by her side and then lifted the cone again to her ear. Leeanna. Three or four times the call came, and only when the pine cone was to her ear. Hearing her voice in such a childlike manner brought a sudden smile to her face.
She knew she was not alone, she was not forgotten and no matter how much she struggled with purpose, she would not be overlooked.