Milan’s Pitch-Pine Cone Shapes

{[. . .] That hard closed cone, which defied all violent attempts to open it and could only be cut open with a knife, has thus yielded to the gentle persuasion of warmth and dryness. The expanding of the pine cones—that, too, is a season. —Henry David Thoreau, Wild Fruits}

31 October. Last spring somebody brought home a handsome pitch-pine cone, which had freshly fallen and was closed perfectly tight. (Squirrels always love stripping some pitch-pine cones.) It was put into a table drawer. I was greatly surprised to find that it dried there and opened with perfect regularity, filling the drawer; and from a solid, narrow, and sharp cone has become a broad, rounded, open one—has in fact expanded with all the regularity of a flower’s petals into a conical flower of rigid scales and has shed a remarkable quantity of delicate winged seeds.

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Ibrahimovic’s Crab Walk

{He who enters into the viscera of the earth to see the metals, minerals, stones, and gems; who observes the plants, quadrupeds, and serpents on the surface of the earth; he who immerses himself in the sea in order to contemplate the fish and other marine things; who lifts himself into the skies to wonder at so many different kinds of apparitions and generations, the birds and so many flying insects; and then perceives in them the mechanisms and the harmony of each smallest particle so well adapted to the whole—how could he then, seeing everything so infused with Providence and Divinity, how could he not detest Atheism [. . .]? —Carlo Dati, “Delle lodi del commendatore Cassiano dal Pozzo,” Florence 1664}

26 October. Heard today in my chamber around 9:20 A.M., while reviewing the Champions League match between Milan and Bate Borisov, a singular, sharp cracking sound of the ball, which made me think of the snapping of an insect (with its wings or legs striking something). It was produced by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his exuberant attempt to score a goal from an area in the middle of the pitch, which, as I gathered, in this part of the season is set to lay squarely in the sun like the glossy rubbing of a green vase on the window-sill.

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