Today I went to the shops. Again I found myself on the simple journey through my estate, along the main road, and across to the row of shops that surround the local travel hub. On the way I noticed the sodden yellows of the browning leaves, turning to mulch as the autumn rains begin to compost the season. The sky was clear, though dulled, and there was a suggestion of wind that hinted the full entourage was on its way.
I found my imagination wandering as the movement of my body gave a rhythm to the walk; the subtle changes of direction and gradient stimulating different muscles and joints, expelling energy in contrasting directions. This all culminated on my arrival at the shop, where I saw the pumpkins on display.
Now pumpkins conjure two ideas in my mind - the first is the idea of pie, the iconic pumpkin pie. I have never made it or eaten it, but since childhood America and Americana has been a presence in my life (blame Lucas and Spielberg). I associate this pie with a, not uncontroversial, public holiday; but I also associate it with a sense of glamour - odd really, as the idea and flavour of pumpkin and squash provoke warmth, earthiness and a sense of sweetness, more echoes of family than high living. Though on some level the idea of the idealised family life is something that I do respond to as glamorous, as other or different to my own experience; maybe it is this association with shared experience that I have used to lace pumpkin pie, to give it a mythical unifying status?
Pumpkin also screams out Halloween. This is also a holiday I have never really known - I have never really felt the desire to dress up in costume - mainly because I feel it is unnecessary to have a costume to inhabit another persona or existence, my imagination lets me do that pretty well (and without the social embarrassment of a body that seems incompatible with any known cut of clothing). I do however approve of the idea of a holiday that explores the link between life and death - though where exactly extortion of money or gifts from other people fits into that is difficult to see, unless Charon begun it all?!
Anyway, when I saw the pumpkins this time I immediately began to transform my front garden in readiness for Halloween; mentally sculpting frightful faces with burning eyes and fangs from the pumpkin; then placing flickering lanterns in strategic positions, calling out to the spirits and spreading shadow and glow over evergreen bush and tree. I imagined supplementing all this with hidden candy, with gothic notes, the smells of mulled cider - apples, cinnamon and cloves, and ginger cake. At first this level of interest and detail surprised me, I generally seek to dismiss the idea of holidays and festivals as some form of consumer con; but with each idea this seemed to move from a reaction to the holiday, to a production of the holiday - a performance to invite others to, and to participate in.
It might be pie in the sky, but I'd like to think I'll do it this year, who knows - it may even go well?