October 21st, 2006

rainy day


Some mornings your mood is grey and drizzly as the cloud-covered vista beyond your bedroom window. It is one of those (thankfully) rare days when you think that if you let go the grip you have on your heart then you'll start crying for no real reason and you may never stop again. You may stop breathing with the weight of it. You wonder how it feels to smile when everything gets on your nerves and your feet are cold and your self is shriveled and puny and mean. Feel that line between your brows deepen and stick. If you're not careful, you'll freeze this way. And you're already so, so cold.

Going pumpkin-hunting helps, although at first tears threaten again when you realize you have probably left it too late in the day and everything is closed already in this country where shopkeepers have a life, for god's sake, didn't anyone tell them we want to buy pumpkins now?! The first farmyard is silent and shuttered, and though they have pumpkins, lying golden and glowing in the grass verge by the barn, there is no one about; they've been gone for 30 minutes. We drive on and the mist coats the car in a silvery wet slicker.

Your husband is heading for a big produce roadside marketplace he vaguely remembers hearing about on the road between Dalby and Lund. You sink into your seat, thinking there is no such place and behind your brain some little voice is shouting, WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? And you hear Cher say, "Snap out of it!" but the only slap is a mental one and it bounces off and skitters on the road behind you.

There IS such a place and it's open! And not only do they have perfect pumpkins, they have EVERYTHING. A long, low table piled high with tilted crates of vegetables, a vegetable rainbow, a veritable plethora of good things to eat. Artichokes like great green pointy peonies, as big as a baby's head. You take 3 right away, there's the dinner planning dealt with. 3 pumpkins, too, causing your smile to finally rise to the surface: Papa, Mama, Baby pumpkin. The children fill a brown paper bag with ornamental gourds lumpy with yellow and pale green warts. You add 2 cucumbers to the pile in front of the cashier, and when she asks if there is anything else you have to stop yourself from saying, yes, everything else and taking it all home with you.


Q. What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?
A. Pumpkin pi.