Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pumpkins and Oak Trees

Someone threw a pumpkin from the third floor and it landed in the snow outside our window. I wonder if whoever threw it was aiming for the river. It's rotten, and the black seeds and insides are all over the snow. I heard it thud to the ground while I was alone in our apartment, reading a new book and drinking tea. It was the kind of moment you think can’t be interrupted because it’s so peaceful and lovely, but then somehow it is.

I stood by the window a long time, looking at the exploded, frozen pumpkin. I thought of when I was a kid, taking my nighttime bath, moving back and forth in the tub so tidal waves crashed over my head. I had short hair then, short and wild. I was rinsing the shampoo from my eyes and suddenly there was this boom. The water in the tub rippled around me and the walls shook. I got up, naked, from the lukewarm water and looked out the window. All I could see were branches and leaves, like a forest had grown around and into our house.

The oak tree from our yard had fallen in the high winds, smashing right through the side of our house. Until my dad came home with friends and chainsaws, I thought we were going to live inside that big tree forever.

I don’t think this pumpkin in the snow will be cleared. Whoever threw it never wanted to see it again. I could move it myself, but I’ll watch it freeze, unfreeze, rot, become part of the soil, and maybe pray (hopelessly, childishly) for a pumpkin patch in the fall.

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