The Draw of the Pine


2014 was a bumper year for pine nuts in the forests of Primorye; the enormous Korean pines of the region produced then dropped countless cones dripping with resin and packed tight with nuts onto the soft forest floor. In response, droves of shishkari, pine cone collectors, mobilized and descended on the forest with massive white sacks that entered empty and left bursting at the seams. The activities of the shishkari were not as evident during daylight hours, when their camps were hidden behind veils of willow and birch that lined the road, but when driving at night the dark forests twinkled with shishkari campfires with such regularity that it gave the impression of steering along a lighted pathway. By the end of the season, the forest floor had been as though vacuumed of its cones. Continue reading “The Draw of the Pine”