Every year we harvest the pumpkins and pile them high. They smell like sunshine trapped in the dirt. At least that’s what I told Mother once, then she laughed, and I’ve learned to keep my thoughts to myself.
After they are stacked and the banners are raised, the people from the City descend on our farms like sparrows on a pile of spilled seeds. They jostle and yell and purchase such a number of pumpkins that they could never eat before they start going soft on the bottom. Apparently they cut them open, too, not for eating but for lanterns with faces. I’d seen one once and it made me shiver down to my toes.
It makes me shiver when I hear them talk about cutting them over and leaving them out with candles inside with no one around to watch them. But I smile and make their change and answer their questions that show they wouldn’t know how to survive a day on the farm. That they don’t know what it’s like to keep secrets.
And when they turn their backs and laugh as they carry their pumpkins away, I cross myself as I hold my breath. Because I know that each pumpkin holds a secret. Everyone in the country knows that. You can hear them if you are caught out in the fields at dusk or dawn by yourself and the pumpkins are fat on their vines. They whisper and they tattle and they tease with their secrets that never mean anything good. And we let them go because we don’t want to know their secrets. We plug our ears when we harvest them or sing songs loud and clear. We sell them and their secrets to those who don’t know better. We let them go because we have enough secrets of our own.