I am a pine cone high up on a branch of a stately pine tree. It is summer 1749. I am located on Ash Street, just off Main Street, in Hopkinton.
In the autumn, a strong wind blows me down onto the ground. During the winter, I will be covered by pine needles, leaves and snow. In the spring, I will sprout into a pine sapling. The growing conditions are favorable, and I will grow straight and strong.
From my lofty position overlooking the Town Common, I observe all the activities there, including men drilling in preparation to go off to the Civil War.
Fast forward to the summer of 1869 and I am a majestic 100-foot tall, 20-inch diameter tree. Some men come into the forest and cut me and several of my neighbors down and make us into lumber at a nearby sawmill.
I end up being part of the roof of a building with a tower that has a bell in it. When the bell rings, men come and take this machine out of my building and put out fires with it. In a few years, they build another building behind me to house horses. When the bell rings, the horses now pull out a larger machine to put out the fires.
Around 1900, the present machine and horses are replaced by a new machine that is powered by an engine to drive it and run a pump.
By 1954, there are three of these engines parked in my building. In the summer of 1954, this big machine comes along and raises my building and the house next door to make room for a new and bigger building to house these engines.
A man takes me — a 12-by-48-foot board — out of a pile of rubble and puts me in this dark place. In 1975, he gives me to his son and I am put in another dark place.
In 2022, this son takes me, smooths out one side of me and shapes me. He makes a space in my center and puts a picture of the original building I was part of in this space. Then tags with the names of people who put out the fires are fastened to me and I am put in a place of honor.
I have come a long way in 273 years since I was a pine cone.