A couple years ago, about this time of year, I excitedly bought several pumpkins at a farm stand. When we got home, I realized the small pumpkins would line up perfectly in our windowsill. As I placed them there, I had a fleeting thought, “What if some kid grabs them and throws them at our house?” But my admiration of their friendliness and homey-ness quickly supplanted that disturbing vision, and the pumpkins stayed in the windowsill. At least for a little while.

The next morning, the pumpkins were gone.

The good part, I suppose, is that no one threw them at our house. There was no trace of those pumpkins.

Lately, I feel like time is moving in some crazy vortex and leaving me behind. I’ve been caught up in a lot of different things, not all of them pleasant, and suddenly  I find we’re in mid-to-late October…? WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? The last time I looked, it was late summer. But that does not appear to be the case anymore: it is cold and rainy and I cannot, in fact, remember the last time I actually saw the sun. Today I wore a hat, gloves and a coat (mostly because I was sitting outside all day — such layering would not have been totally necessary for a brief stroll).

Clearly, we are not in summer anymore.

Anywhim, in an effort to actually tune into the world and seasons around me  — and I dunno, maybe appreciate them, rather than just glowering in a dark funk with no sunlight   — I am trying to stop and recognize the positive aspects of autumn. For me, this means: drinking apple cider, making tasty recipes that use squash, and noticing the leaves. It also meant buying a large pumpkin on Saturday.

But now the question is, where to put this friendly pumpkin? It would look nicest on on front steps (that is, if it ever stops raining. and I think it is entirely possible that it may NEVER stop raining). But will someone steal it?

I’ve decided this could be a test. Perhaps the measure of gentrification is how long it takes for your pumpkin to go missing…

The pumpkin test! I will let you know how it goes.



Today is a sad day for Washington, DC, even if there is a *very exciting* dusting of snow. “The Awakening” statue — a huge, steel, half-buried sleeping giant — has left us. “The Awakening” giant has tried to break through the ground at Hains Point for almost 30 years, and now he is finally gone. He is relocating to a Potomac beach in Prince George’s county. Why does everyone have to leave DC for the suburbs?

The statue was at the tip of Hains Point, a 300+ acre peninsula that sticks out between the Washington Channel and the Potomac, south of Thomas Jefferson and his tidal basin. Hains Point is a funny little peninsula that is a bit out of the way, with no public transport. The only reasons for the average tourist or DCer to go there would be to see the statue or cherry trees, golf on a mostly flat public course, swim in an outdoor public pool in the summer or enjoy cycling or running on the peninsula’s mostly untrafficked roads. Hmm, when I list them all there like that, it seems Hains Point is DC’s playground. Perhaps it is, but it is also out of the way and sparsely visited.

The Awakening is so different than the men on horses and marble presidents that dominate our sculptural life here in DC.  Down on the end of the point, it seemed like a hidden treasure.

The giant was a friend for cyclists training at the point and for the poor beleaguered Marine Corps Marathon runners who had to run the Hains Point loop with nary a fan in sight. The point has a nice flat road, not very much traffic … and often killer winds from the river. Many a runner and cyclist has spent time going around and around its approximately 5K loop. “The Awakening” was like a special surprise treat out there, the reward for making it to the end of the peninsula.

On difficult brick workouts at the point, I would look forward to running or cycling by the statue — it was about all that got me through sometimes. In the midst of muscle pain, winds and the mental difficulty of running in circles, the gentle giant created a destination and a visual reward. I will miss him.