Daniel planted the pine cone on the edge of their yard and checked it daily until a tiny sapling sprouted from the ground. Two years he watched it grow before the steel company bought their land for a new plant. The landscapers thought the young tree on the edge of the property looked environmentally friendly, so they added a hundred matching trees. When Daniel started working there four years later, he still recognized his tree, just a little less regular than the nursery-bought trees. In case he forgot, he marked it with his initials. Ten years he worked there, and he never failed to stop by the tree each day.
Economic depression shut the plant down, then economic collapse made a ghost out of the town. Daniel sheltered in the plant, a place he knew well with enough space for his friends and family to squat. When winter came, they cut the trees for warmth, but never Daniel's tree.
After five years and a hard harvest, they needed the wood. Daniel cut down the tree he'd planted over twenty years before, burning it branch by branch. When he reached the bottom, he found his initials. That piece, he kept.