Here’s a story for you, just so you’ll know I’m alive. [I’m still kickin’, taking life a day at a time, doing what I can. These are, to paraphrase the Dickens line, the best of times and the worst of times. Much more good, though, than bad, when I stop and count. God’s grace is sufficient. But on to our story!]
Late Wednesday night, I take out my trash and recycling, so it can be picked up on Thursday morning. The bags and recycling bin are properly placed in the alley behind the building. Now, my downstairs neighbors — bless them! — often seem to have a great abundance of garbage, and sometimes it doesn’t end up in quite the right place. I think what happened a couple weeks ago is that some of my neighbors’ bags slipped down through the gap between the alley surface and the fence, alighting in our backyard — where, of course, the trash collectors won’t and can’t pick them up.
As I set out my trash last night, I remembered those two stray bags of my neighbors’, and I decided to carry them through the gate and up into the alley, so that they could disappear, and our backyard would be the better for it. I gripped one bag, and it came along with me fine. But the other seemed rooted to the yard! I’d never encountered such a heavy garbage bag! It wasn’t particularly big, but it was full of something that took a herculean labor to budge. I finally managed it, half-dragging the bag, hefting it inch by inch across the yard . . .
I wrangled it up the concrete steps to the alley. I bore it safely through the gate. I was just a half-step away from dropping it into place with the other garbage bags . . . when the bottom ripped out of the bag, and I discovered the source of the great weight. Three very large pumpkins went bounding away down the steep alley! Bumpity bumpity bump! I don’t mean jack-o’-lanterns; I mean solid pumpkins. They bounced and thumped and zigzagged, following the contours of brick, asphalt, and pothole. Two went more or less to the right, one to the left, and all went a good way down the block from my gate, hopping and rolling in the bright moonlight. The night was chill.
Why my neighbors threw away three good, uncarved pumpkins, I’ll never know. All I knew was that it was bedtime, I was tired, I’m just about over a severe, lingering cough, no one really lives along that stretch of the alley, and I wasn’t inclined to go rounding up pumpkins in the early stages of decomposition. I simply took note of where they came to rest, decided it wasn’t going to cause any trouble, and sent them a silent congratulations for having escaped the garbage truck. One is in front of a little brake of saplings; one rests near an abandoned garage; one is half-buried in leaves against the chain-link fence. They’re nicely spaced along the alley: Advent decorations. Pukel-men. Moai. Disciples of the Great Pumpkin. Call them what you will, they are there. And pumpkins are organic, so they won’t be there forever. For a season, they adorn.
Speaking of pumpkins, which leads us to Dragonfly, I believe this can now be officially announced: the dear old book is very soon to become an audio book from Audible! I don’t know the precise form it will take, and I don’t know who will be reading it. I’m most eager to find out! But help me keep watch for it. It should be forthcoming quite soon; it’s contracted and I’ve been paid, so . . .
Sending warmth to all as the days grow colder and darker. Talk to you soon! Let us persevere!