HumpDay Quickie # 39

Posted: October 15, 2014 in Hump-Day Quickies
Tags: , , , ,

Carving out a Space

by Nancy Chenier

Arms laden with runty pumpkins, Tannon clambers up the porch steps.

“Harvest!” he announces and I try not to wince. Born here on Copiae, he’s never known a real harvest.

Beyond him, the waning glow from the primary oozes maple syrup light over griddlecake hills. A bloated moon that sees us through the ridiculously long nights on Copiae—only we’re the satellite in its orbital coil.

I corral the fist-sized gourds in the center of the table. I long for one that would yield a whole pie. “Nothing bigger,” I muse aloud.

Tannon’s brow furrows like I asked for a slice of the sky.

“These are lovely,” I say polishing one with the hem of my tunic. What a pathetic jack-o-lantern this would make.

He’s not fooled. “I’m gonna go with Amber to get some more.”

I roll the pumpkin in my palms and watch the glow strips on his coat skip along the furrows. Without a proper summer, the gourds never swell to a satisfying plumpness.

I’m not the only parent who has abandoned the holidays of Earth. With no frost to glaze Yuletide windows, no awakening crocuses to welcome Ostara, no sun-dewed grasses to tickle the feet of Litha dancers, seasonal celebrations don’t stir the soul.

I teeter with the rest of my generation on the threshold between the memories of Earth and the hopes for this place. Stuck like Copiae itself, in its eternal autumn. It’s not fair to Tannon. Human bodies evolved with the rhythms of a tilting planet.

Samhain isn’t the only fall festival, I tell myself. It’s been a decade since I’ve made one, but I set to carving anyway until five puny jack-o-lanterns glower back at me. They’re supposed to keep spirits away, but I’m still haunted by the dead.

Tannon returns as I start on a sixth.

“What did you do to them?” he asks, wary.

“It’s an earth custom. For harvest.”

His tentative smile bolsters my resolve. Maybe we’ll make tarts later.

“Can you get the candles?”

He sprints for the pantry.

I line up the pumpkins. Behind the hollow grins, I know there’s room enough for the spirit of thanksgiving.

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Comments
  1. […] “Carving Out a Space”, an SF piece based on a pic prompt of pumpkins. It got featured here, for Humpday Quickie […]

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