Pumpkins are the herald of autumn, an emblem of the pastoral harvest, and a symbol of change. Their vibrant orange and slightly ribbed skin is stimulating, joyful, and energizing to see.
Long used for nutrition by Native Americans and livestock feed on farms, pumpkins are a utilitarian fruit. Now used as an ingredient in pies, soups, lagers, and lattes, they are also grown to mighty sizes, hurled in “Punkin chunkin” contests, and carved into Halloween jack-o’-lanterns. With roots in Irish myth, the pumpkin is featured in American folklore. Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” glorifies the notorious pumpkin as an eerie replacement for a man’s head — a story that continues to terrorize and fascinate us today.
Days later, Star displays indifference to the humble pumpkin whose surface appears pocked and blackened with rot. Cold creeps in as days grow shorter. The gray squirrel hordes and scatters his food while growling and chattering as we walk by. It’s been a long time coming, but a change is gonna come.
Automn’s joy haiku
The purple leaf falls
Like a bird’s feather floating
Autumn’s joy explodes.
– Kristine Bruneau copyright © 2020