We finally got around to buying a pumpkin this past weekend. If it gets carved, it will happen on Friday night .... but I don't think anyone here is holding her breath.
Really, for Keith and me, it was about the experience of going to the farmer's market to pick out a pumpkin and enjoy a beautiful fall day. We really wanted to go back to the same place we had gone last year: Szalay's Sweet Corn Farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The farm sits immediately next to the Towpath Trail, so last year we wandered around the market, bought a pumpkin and a few other fresh produce items and baked goods, and wandered up the trail a bit. It had felt like a moment out of time, with nothing to worry about . We just enjoyed the fall weather, each other's company, and counted our blessings.
We definitely wanted to go back there. And this year, Eleanor was going to be so much more excited! Last year, we tried taking a picture of her with the pumpkins and she started crying. But this year, pumpkins are her very favorite thing. A neighbor a few doors down decided to grow a few pumpkins in her front flower garden, and Eleanor is constantly heading in that direction on walks. She likes to pat the pumpkins, marveling at their size and thickness. (At least, I assume that's what she's doing.)
And, on Sunday, she did not disappoint. That expression in the photograph? That's the expression of excitement and wonder that she wore most of the day, combined with a triumphant laugh as she looked around at Keith, me, and anyone else passing by. She would stare at all of us, as if challenging us to admit that THIS is the best life can be. Did anyone know it could be so good?!?
I was afraid that we would be at the farm for hours, because it appeared that she just might need to touch every single pumpkin on display. Eventually, though, we did purchase one large pumpkin for potential carving, a small pumpkin and gourd perfectly-sized for grasping baby hands, and some pretzel bread that was delicious. We dropped everything off at the car and headed over to the Towpath for a short walk.
In this, as in everything else, Eleanor was absolutely delighted. Look at all the people! And the leaves! And the puppies!! She was like the ambassador of the trail; as runners or walkers approached, she would plant herself in the middle of the trail and wait for them to notice her. Once they did, she would smile and pretend to be shy, but then wave enthusiastically. She loved the crunch of the dry leaves under her feet, and spent many moments stopping in place on them.
I have always enjoyed the Fall, and Halloween. But they have never been this exciting or filled with wonder before. Eleanor just makes everything better!