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Oh my Gourd

Posted Oct 31 2010 5:34am

Ned took the boys pumpkin-shopping at a nearby farm — a real, honest-to-goodness thriving working farm, about 1/2 mile out of Boston!  Needless to say, the choice of pumpkins and gourds there is far more stunning than the big bin-o-punkins right outside the sliding doors of Stop & Shop.

I didn’t go because I was on my second day of a new experiment of mine:  cold weather bike rides.  I refuse to give up riding; I just can’t stand to.  If it’s sunny, why not just layer up and go?  It’s different, alright.  It’s so much less immediate, because there’s so little skin exposed.  You pedal through a cloud of cotton and spandex.  You’re so much more in your own world because of the ear-warmers under the helmet.  It’s a little like being under water.

As I ride I see the same things over and over, but they look a little bit different every time.  I take the same few routes, or vary them just a tiny bit.  I don’t get bored.  The sameness is part of the joy.  The sameness with just a tinge of new.  I pass that same Parks and Rec meadow (well, it’s just a soccer field but if you approach it just a certain way, it is kind of a meadow.  You have to play these kinds of games with yourself when you ride in fairly urban areas.).  Everytime I pass that field, it looks a little different.  Two days ago the weed trees were the color of fire.  These are straggly palm-leafish kinds of beasts that spring up everywhere if you’re not careful — one even sprung out of the side of my foundation — but the thing is, in the autumn, even these are gorgeous.  A sunset of colors.

But it was a tough choice, because I love the annual pumpkin run.  You pull a splintery flat wagon through the rows and you get surprise after surprise of the weirdness of pumpkins.  Well, I made my cherce, as they say in Joisey, and so I missed it this year.  But my loved ones brought me back such bounty:  four very big, carve-able Jack-O-Lantern types; 3 pale-colored greens or pinks for decoration; and two sugar ones for baking pies. Ned was telling me about how one pumpkin they came upon was three feet long and U-shaped!  He also described a genie-bottle-shaped gourd that had fins somehow sticking out of it.  “Like an alien,” he said.

Randomness in nature is, to me, proof of God.  Because it is through the randomness that we get such intense new beauty, that lights us up inside.  The weed tree is now the Queen of the Meadow.  The absurd, monstrous reject veggies become the jewel in the crown of our porch steps.  The autistic, non-verbal, arm-waving sometimes scary young man is also sometimes the most breath-taking, heart-stopping, mind-boggling individual ever to cross my path, and so my path is very wide because of him.  We all have our beauty and our purpose, but you have to figure out your own season.

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