It’s that pumpkin time of year. Pumpkins stacked artfully on every doorstep. Pumpin crafts in every elementary classroom. Pumpkin-shaped dishes and pumpkin-colored sweaters. And don’t even get me started on the food. Pumpkin spice lattes are only the beginning. Now we have pumpkin spice cookies. Pumpkin spice cereal. Pumpkin spice tortilla chips. Even our beloved peanut butter cups have mutated into pumpkin form for the season.
Don’t get me wrong. I love all of it. I have no fewer than six pumpkins by my front door. I own an orange shirt (something I once swore I would never do). Pumpkin spice is my jam. But lately, I’ve been asking myself why.
Why have we become so crazy about pumpkins? Sure, it’s a fall vegetable, but so are other kinds of squash, not to mention cabbage and kale. You don’t see anyone obsessing over cabbage season, do you? Is it all just a clever marketing scheme? But if so, why haven’t they come up with a winter vegetable to lure us to spend? Surely they still want our money when it’s freezing outside.
Then the other day, it hit me. I was cleaning up toys in our playroom (like some kind of family-member-turned-slave) and I saw the picture. You see that one up there? It’s from an old Cinderella book I found at a thrift store. The illustrations charmed me, so I framed them and hung them up to smile down on my playing children. And there it is. Cinderella, holding the pumpkin which is about to take her to a ball to meet the love of her life.
No wonder we’re so obsessed with pumpkins, ladies! They are embedded in our mythology as our transportation to bliss.
Think about it. A plain lump of a vegetable, left in the garden after everything else had been harvested, gets chosen to be transformed into something special and lovely. It won’t last forever. The magic ends at midnight. But no one will ever forget it, even after it’s gone. It will have changed the course of a girl’s life, and even the course of a kingdom.
That pumpkin is potential. That pumpkin is hope. That pumpkin is us.
I’m not saying that if a cabbage had been all that poor girl had left in her garden, we’d all be drinking cabbage spice lattes today. I’m just saying that there has to be some correlation, don’t you think? Surely we can all agree that the stories of our culture have far-reaching affects. Why coudn’t this be one of them?
You consider it. I’m going to go make myself a pumpkin spice tea before my kids get home from school.