Monday, October 31, 2005


pumpkin suffering weather

When my children were small, I celebrated candle-lit pumpkins with elaborately carved starry night scenes, always created the evening of Halloween, when the skies were still too light to trick-or-treat. There are enough pumpkins with faces, I surmised. I also worried a face might scare little ones, coming out of a pumpkin. And I just like being different.

I arrived at my friend Liz’ house to find my son elbow deep in pumpkin seeds, tongue sliding out of the side of his mouth in deep concentration. He had cut the front of the pumpkin “with some help,” after carefully making a paper pattern, then he was going at some designs on the backside of the pumpkin, all by himself. He also ingeniously cut a slot exactly the size of a tea light candle at the back of the pumpkin—I’m thinking he should patent his design. My daughter carved her own pumpkin in school, also, with the help of a fifth grader. I am a bit stunned to be so uninvolved in the process! What a strange sensation! I sat down with a bowl of carrot soup, to watch the progress of the children with their carving tools.

How different the world is, everyday, with children who are able to find other assistants for their projects, who can do so much by themselves!

I had just begun to miss my nightscape-carved pumpkins the boy asked to light the candle in his jack-o-lantern and turned the face toward me: a toothy smile, like any jack-o-lantern, with a moon for a nose, and two stars for eyes. “I made the picture myself,” he says. “Just the way I wanted it.”

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