Cover image: Tall Tree Without Shadow by Hung Nguyen The To read the concept note and his brief interview click on the image above
Consciousness is the spark that lends us an ability to be aware of survival in a keen sense, with all the complexity that it entails: the agonies and the ecstasies. It is also this individual consciousness that engages with that of the group to create civilizations as we know it. This is no rhetoric since the anthropologist Margaret Mead brought our attention to a 15,000 year old broken femur bone that showed signs of healing. In a primitive society, for a broken femur bone to heal, it would take six weeks of rest. That implies that someone cared for the person with a fractured femur, hunted and brought her food, protected her from wild animals. Nurturing and being nurtured are as much a part of survival as is the struggle at a personal level.
The Pine Cone Review’s very roots are wound around notions of survival. A pine tree like other root- system-based lifeforms, relies on the nurture of the whole to grow and thrive. Science tells us trees can and do communicate with one another through their complex root systems. Much like mushrooms, the complex biosphere of plants and other life forms can remind us of what matters most for our own survival. If we think of how best to survive, we may accept the community approach seems to benefit individuals far more than trying to go it alone. Much as we may shun others when life gets tough or we have experienced betrayal, the very reverse is necessary to thrive. Trying to go it alone, and the cult of individualism permeating many cultures, doesn’t appear to be sufficient fertile ground for true growth.
If we imagine ourselves like pine trees, we grow better in groups, we need the nurture and community of each other. When we wall ourselves away from the world, we lose something of ourselves that is perhaps brought out by others. Even as we convince ourselves isolation can be necessary, or beneficial, we know too much creates an imbalance. To survive we must maintain equilibrium and one way in which human beings have sought to approximate that equilibrium is through creativity.
Woven tightly into survival, is the ability to aliterate that what survival means. We do this through writing it out: poetry and prose. We paint it, sew it, mold it, bake it. We even eat it. Every act is an act of development and sharing those insights and creations with one another. Be it your grandmother’s empanada and the rich history of baking and symbols within food, or your own desire to sing, an ancient longing within our psyche. Humans are complicated creators and we illustrate our survival through those creations, in bewitching, disturbing, luminous ways. The Pine Cone Review is very proud to present, our special SURVIVAL issue. Dedicated to all who survive and all who have gone before us and hold us up with their memories.
The Pine Cone Review
April 2, 2022