Oh my gourd, Autumn has arrived.
Well, paint me orange and scalpel out chunks of my latissimus dorsi into a grin because I love fall. I can finally whip out my flannel collection that would put a lumberjack to shame. Wearing those snuggly cotton-polyester plaid blends just feels empowering and borderline sexy ;-). My gumby little arms might suggest otherwise but I could EASILY chop a tree down with my bare hands! GRRR!!! I’ll gnaw two-by-fours into woodchips with my bare teeth. And after a hard grueling day of working in the field—y’know chopping down all those trees—I can return home and chug a gallon of apple cider like it’s water. In fact, it once was water. During the autumnal season, all water is transfigured into apple cider. Just another one of those divine mysteries. Maybe I’ll dip into my special stuff—the apple juice from the apples I picked (and smashed and juiced between my forearm and bicep) from the trees I just unrooted in my masculine-filled fantasies of forestry.
Hggggnnnnhhh. Fall is great. The leaves change color in a way that just activates this carnal urge inside of me. Like my sacral chakra climatically bursts open and pumps full of sensual energy. I yearn for those cool breezes against my cheeks and the nipping of the frost against my nose. That sweetness in the air is like—BOOM!—my crack cocaine. The year I lose my sense of smell will be my last because that autumn scent is my only reason to live during the other three seasons. Like please place me in an evergreen grove—or even just give me a pinecone or something with the scent. I’d survive just fine. Honestly, I’d probably thrive if we’re being honest because the spirits of the wilderness just enter my body and take control. My eyes roll back in ecstasy from the scent. It’s a full 180 degrees. I literally see my brain sipping on some neural apple cider and frolicking around in a pine needle-like pile of crisp axons. God, fall pushes all the right buttons. I literally ascend for a
hot breezy, perfect-hay-bale-riding-temperature second. My soul fully leaves my body and I am astrally projected into the middle of the Adirondacks or something. A bear probably swats at my spirit, but that’s just how it goes.
I love all of that but don’t think I’ve forgotten the most important thing about the season. None of this compares to my little gourd of glee: my dorm room pumpkin. I didn’t even think I was gonna get a pumpkin this year because I’m not at home and where the hell do you get a pumpkin in New York City? But suddenly the divine stork of a maternal care package gets dropped in Wien.
O! How can I describe such sublime beauty? The robust vermillion of thy skin and the deep earnest chestnut of thy stem. The cascading contours of thy ribs, for pleasure. The Rubenesque stature of thy curvature and the glow of thy skin in the lamplight. The weight of your shape against my cupped hand and the subtle scent laced upon your aura. O pumpkin, my pumpkin! Neither the apple of my eye nor the cherry on my cake, no you are better: the gourd of my god!
When I opened the cardboard box it was like SURPRISE! YOU ARE THE FATHER! And my perfect grapefruit-sized orange gourd son was resting amongst my winter jacket and candy. Immediately I felt a paternal bond to care for the cutest Cucurbita I have ever seen. It was so strong that I began the process of switching my major to economics so I can financially provide for this beauty. I’m talking about the full works. He’s gonna get the best bedroom in our future hypothetical multi-story house in Long Island or Westchester—or even Connecticut, but somewhere bougie like Greenwich where we’d be sailors in a local Yacht club with the Gates and Waltons. Maybe all three, why not? He’ll do a sport like equestrian or squash (hah! pun intended) and I’ll find a nice au pair and my pumpkin and I will take vacations every summer to Europe. I’m thinking Lake Como or Paris or maybe even the Algarve. And, of course, he’s going to boarding school.
The hardest part of my newfound fall fatherhood is leaving him during my classes, yet I know this is for the best as I need to take care of him. So while my chemistry professor explains resonance and thermodynamic bonding, I am instead resonating with the eternal dynamic bond of father and son. Distance truly makes the heart grow fonder. I know this for a fact, like when I race back to my dorm room and embrace my plump little fruit. It fills the dorm-pumpkin-shaped hole in my dorm-pumpkin-shaped heart. I would die for this pumpkin and I will kill for this pumpkin. If my roommate stares at him the wrong way it’s over.
And I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I see you all cradling your own decorative gourds and squashes and pumpkins that you just bought from the street vendors. My yearning is a universal yearning. Every single person craves the love of a pumpkin. No matter lumpy or smooth, no matter orange, yellow, or white, no matter tiny or humungous, this affection transcends any preference. When you see the squash you go hog wild. It’s human instinct. Like before you even learn how to speak or walk or talk you know you want a pumpkin. It’s the earliest stage in human development. My psych class taught me that.
Honestly, I’m gonna buy dozens more and declare myself a patriarch. I’m gonna rival the Kennedy clan. Me and my thousand pumpkins kindred. One will become president. Yeah, that’s right, I’m gonna purchase the entire damn patch. Every single one. Who’s gonna stop me? I have like ten tote bags and I know how to use them.
See you at the farmer’s market.
Two Fancy Pumpkins via pxfuel
Family Portraits via Kyle Murray