By Edna Ward

Special to the Opelika Observer A close-up (inset) of this Floridian pine tree shows the cross shape that has bloomed.

Special to the Opelika Observer
A close-up (inset) of this Floridian pine tree shows the cross shape that has bloomed.

If people could view spring as a beautiful fabric woven of many strands of thread -what a magnificent tapestry they would see. The threads of spring bring a mix of inspiration, religion, beauty and misery. Among this mix is Alabama’s state tree, the pine.
Selected as the state tree in 1949, the pine’s designation was later changed to specify the long-leaf pine.Pine trees produce pollen which can be annoying during allergy season. People sneeze, complain and grumble as they get their hoses and wash it away from their homes, driveways and cars.
The intrigue of this tree has spanned centuries. History and ancient art indicate pine cones have been inspiring. At the Vatican in Rome, a courtyard displays a giant bronze statue of a pine cone. Numerous sources claim the pine cone is a pagan symbol of eternal life. There are also stories about native Alabama Indians who knew the beneficial properties of pine pollen. From the 1920s and on into the mid 1940s, several accounts tell that President Franklin Roosevelt believed pines benefited him when he visited his beloved Warm Springs in Pine Mountain, Ga.
Harvesting and selling pine pollen is even a modern business. Many internet advertisers claim it has health wellness benefits. The Lucky Vitamin Company of Conshohocken, Pa., offers pine pollen in powder, tablet, capsule or liquid. Another Internet source states “Pine pollen by SurThrival is the solid foundation for mega nutrition and is harvested in the richest soil of Mongolia.” It seems there is a ton of pine pollen in the south. What’s missing?
Something of extraordinary beauty that pines give probably goes unnoticed as people hurry along life’s way. The cross has a special meaning in Christian faiths. Every year around Easter new growth on pines fill each tree top with thousands of crosses.
To see this glorious sight – all one has to do is look at a pine tree and gaze toward heaven.  Take a moment and look at a pine near Easter and marvel at these beautiful threads in this tapestry of spring.