Pumpkins, pain and poetics unite

By Doug Cummings

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Growing up in Missouri, I became a fervent admirer of pumpkin patches, those glorious autumnal fields holding every size, shape, and virtue of pumpkin.

When I heard of a patch in Three Points outside of Tucson, I knew what I had to do.

Since I didn't have a car I decided to borrow a bike. The bike was six inches too tall, so I couldn't sit on the seat and still reach the pedals. This did not deter me, however, as I was in a hurry and I figured I would have to sacrifice my use of the seat.

I climbed onto the bike and cranked off in anticipatory bliss.

I paused at the edge of Tucson on West Ajo Way. A portly shopkeeper informed me that Three Points was "about six miles over those mountains."

I resignedly sighed. Although it seemed a formidable distance, all I could think about were those little orange vegetables yearning for my company.

Pedaling out of Tucson, I slowly crested a plateau and witnessed a beautiful vista of radiant blue mountains and shimmering desert. The road disappeared arrow-like into the distant horizon, wiggling in the heat.

Eleven miles later, I came to a private airport. The journey had taken quite a while due to my not being able to sit down. I hobbled into their deli, and they viciously told me the pumpkin patch was 10 miles more.

At this point, I must confess that I considered turning back. However, I couldn't let all my work so far come to no fruition.

I crawled back onto my bike and spent an hour laboring through eternal desert.

Eventually, I heaved into a four-building town. I lurched to a halt outside a grocery store, limped inside, and gasped, "Where's the pumpkin patch?"

"Go straight down this road not a quarter mile," the cashier answered.

I hurriedly stumbled to my bike. I began pedaling down the road and glimpsed a huge field coming into view, bursting with a transcendental orange glow.

"I've found it!" I thought and screeched to a halt in front of the patch's "CLOSED" sign.

I teetered there in disbelief. The wind blew, swaying the weeds to and fro. Through the metal fence, I could see the pumpkins crouched in the weeds. There were hundreds of them and they all sat there, silently watching me.

I sat before them, wordlessly regarding the multitude. And I thought of Wordsworth.

"You May Survive" is a regular feature of alterNation, in which reporters commit acts you may or may not want to take part in yourself.

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