It was good to see the little row of pumpkins leading to the front door of our daughter’s house, one for each member of the family. In the cool, misty morning, without touching them, I knew exactly what they would feel like, their deep grooves, their dry, rugged stems, their warts and lumps. And I thought, ever so briefly, of what it might be like to be a pumpkin whisperer, to be on intimate terms with those patient blind philosophers.
A few weeks ago, our eldest son chanced upon a tiny cemetery near an old ferry crossing somewhere along the winding road near the river west of town, where there had been a settlement at one time. There were just a few worn markers and stones among the fallen leaves, some names legible, others claimed by the elements.
There are many such scattered around the countryside. And I can think of dozens of towns that are now merely names and crossings, where early settlers and their offspring briefly made their stand, each with their little post office and general store where they could exchange news, buy nails, coffee, sugar, and sacks of grain. They came, they worked, they tried, they spread disease among the natives, and then they died. Now they moulder amid the roar of combines and freeway noise, the desperate, insane static of their unknown heirs.
October 31, 2020
Thirty-One Hath October
A frozen step. A pumpkin’s breath. A crunchy leaf. Belief.
Recently Banned Literature, October 31, 2016
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