But that brings me to my current soul searching question: what is this obsession with pumpkins? No, really. Fruit and vegetables come and go every season and we manage to contain our enthusiasm. But autumn hits and the pumpkins are unleashed. I was thinking about this the other day when I unpacked these two little beauties from my grocery bag. I do intend to chop them up and cook them at some point (because what is autumn without the scent of baked pumpkin and nutmeg?). In the meantime, I walk all the way across my house to the kitchen several times each day just to admire them. They aren't spectacular. They're lumpy and blotchy and undeniably orange. If Halloween is your thing, then you'll want one or two for carving, but for a single gal like me, who appreciates the holiday only as far as it gets her more face time with the nieces and nephews, a pumpkin is a superfluous kitchen-counter-hogger.
And that got me thinking about other things in my life that mean something, and yet I can't tell what. The little details and extras and oddities we look forward to for no other reason than to have them in the periphery of life. Maybe it's because the things we love are really just part of a continuous cycle of building and gathering. Autumn isn't just the yard-raking predecessor to the dreaded winter. It's a series of sights, scents, tastes, and experiences that ties our first year of life to every year that comes after. I appreciate a good pumpkin for the simple fact that there has always been a pumpkin. There's nothing special about it. It really is just a vegetable (or a fruit, if you need to be technical). But there is something insanely wondrous about my life. That pumpkin is one of the pieces of my personal autumn.
It's not about the pumpkin. It's about me.
And as the snow begins to fly and the heavy artillery of wool and fleece come out of storage, I will build my personal winter. And then my personal Christmas. And my personal joy.
We're all just trying to build our personal joy, y'all.
The lesson that I take from this particular conversation with myself is that we attach meaning to so many big and small things, when what we're really doing is attaching meaning to life. We fill the corners with symbols and reminders because in a world that continues in a downward spiral of justifying and glorifying the dead and the shallow, we all know, viscerally, that nothing is more meaningful than life. Nothing can be great or beautiful or important unless we first acknowledge that life is all of those things. No talk of poverty, disease, convenience, dignity, security, or the phantasmic carbon footprint can alter the value of human life, although it can fool us into thinking it does.
Life is amazing.
And this woman likes to celebrate her life with pumpkin cheesecake.