Pine trees are grown for timber, wood pulp and also for use as Christmas Trees. But long before Christmas, by a curious quirk of nature, tiny crosses sprout from pine trees just a couple of weeks before Easter.
How do these trees know it's Easter? Do they know that Christmas Trees are pagan, and display their little crosses at Easter to somehow compensate for that?
There are many different styles of cross; the ones on this photo are Bent Crosses, the style favoured by the pope. How on earth do these pine trees know all these things?
Well, they know because trees are remarkably clever. For example, they know that the taller they grow, the more sunlight they will get. At the same time, they know if they grow too tall, they won't be able to suck up sufficient moisture from the ground for survival.
They know that as soon as the male cones have shed their pollen, they are redundant and dumped onto the forest floor. They know that the female cones need to hang around a couple of years longer to mature after pollination.
Some species of pine know when to open their cones to release the seeds to the wind, and others attract birds to take and disperse the seeds. Yet other species hang on to their seeds for as many years as it takes before lightening strikes the forest and starts a fire. The heat opens the cones and the seeds fall to the burnt ground to start the life cycle all over again.
That's what trees do. They grow, and they generate seeds to perpetuate their species. It's called 'life' and the shoots that appear in spring, some of which happen to have a couple of perpendicular lateral shoots that make them look like crosses, are just part of that natural life cycle.
While Easter might be the same date in different parts of the world, spring isn't. So new shoot growth in north Africa appears several weeks before the same is seen in Norway. And in the southern hemisphere, Easter is in autumn.
Pine trees 'know' how to grow and there's plenty of evidence that pine trees are as intelligent as any other tree. However, there is no evidence to suggest that pine trees have any knowledge of human customs. Neither is there any mention in non-pagan sacred texts to suggest that trees have a soul.
Conversely, humans do have a soul but unfortunately we're not to sure how to grow. Fortunately, however, there are lessons in the sacred texts that can teach us.
Pine tree shoots do not appear as crosses by accident. They are there to remind us of the love shown by Jesus on the cross. See the meaning of the cross.
Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.