October 29, 2021 |
Once again this year, at the end of a gloomy October, all the pumpkins in the world have joined hands to parade through my village. They are everywhere: camped out on people’s front lawns, on porches leaning against each other and hanging out in front of shops, health clinics, supermarkets, the post office and the church for an entire month.
I even saw a bunch of baby pumpkins with their marked faces arranged in a row on a beautiful black wrought iron fence surrounding the patio of a chic Mediterranean restaurant. So attractive and distinctive among this global parade of beautiful plump orange orbs.
Did you know? I thought our pumpkins were all "made in Canada." In 2018, the leading producer of pumpkins was China, with 8,133,734 tons; second was India with 5,569,809 tons; followed by Ukraine with 1,338,000 tons.
And speaking of "kilos," the largest pumpkin in Canada, weighing 2,006 and a half pounds was grown in Quebec, in Montérégie (south of Montreal) by a father and daughter named Kelsey Bryson (ref. Woodbridge Agricultural Exhibition in Ontario).
And this year, the world record for the biggest pumpkin is 1,226 kilos, or more than a ton. The honours go to an Italian farmer named Stefano Cutrupi from Radda in Chianti in Tuscany. He’ll soon be a World Guinness Record title holder.
I spent the entire month of October walking through the residential areas in my town. And I was as dazzled as if I were walking through the fantastic Christian Dior exhibit at the McCord Museum in Montreal.
Each pumpkin “lady” was dressed and made up as beautifully as the famous fashion designer’s models. Many had flower crowns on their heads. It’s true! This year in particular, the October lawns have been inhabited by orange princesses as lavish as the bourgeoisie at the Venice Carnival.
In these residential neighbourhoods, pumpkins preside like queens, seemingly oblivious to the unworldly ruckus of Halloween. All around them long white ghosts are pinned to the brick walls of homes and big black bats hover over the porches. And shudder! A black wreath wound with gold plastic snakes on a door. I am terrified of reptiles!
White skeletons and big yellow spiders hang in gaunt trees like gloomy Christmas decorations. October is a month rich in strange sights and varied emotions. The arrival of bright pumpkins coincides with Halloween.
We have to wait for the sun with its searing intensity to cool its ardour; wait for the evening to slowly encroach on the day. At that moment of the year, the Halloween monsters arrive as the pumpkins sleep.
The autumn leaves of multifold colours cover the earth and allow the ants and the earthworms to sleep peacefully until next spring. And me, shivering in the crisp air, what do I have left? The crunch of my boots in the forest, the silence of the birds, the smile of the autumnal perennials, the chill on my cheeks, the tall fir trees studded with their needles, and my head full of stories to conjure out of the void for you, dear reader.