Fall Fun in Washington State
I went to a pumpkin patch on Friday after mushing around the house all week, full to the brim with PMS and discomfort. Friday might have been another one of those days where I try to get in touch with mainstream American society by not fast-forwarding through the commercials, but instead my roommate and her girlfriend invited me to go pumpkin picking. I don’t know about you, but this girl cannot say no to fall activities. The rare splendor of riding in the backseat of a car was just cream cheese frosting on the pumpkin spice muffin. And so we drove north to Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Farm.
I ate a donut that was not hot from the fryer. I drank a coffee that was not an Americano. I bought from some raw, GMO-free honey from Bob’s blackberry fields and some dastardly caramel corn. We somehow got around paying for the hay ride by chatting with one of the workers about the history of corn mazes. Did you know the first corn maze was constructed only 20 years ago? What did our poor parents do in the Octobers of their childhoods?!
The corn maze was 10 acres and came with a map. At first I felt annoyed — I like getting lost. Never before have I confronted a cornfield flanked by two military lesbians with an instinctual pull toward true north. I tried to solve the maze the old-fashioned way: by looking for landmarks. An odd ear. An angled stalk. Unfortunately, the middle of a cornfield is quickly repetitive. Damn the homogenization of American agriculture! As we circled, and circled, and the sun and moon traded spots in the sky, I became appreciative of the navigational skills of others.
Bob’s corn maze is the greatest corn maze I’ve ever been to. Not only is it vast, not only does it form a picture from above, not only are the corn stalks lush and tall and the ground smooth. The greatest, the best thing of all: it has an intermission. There’s a break in the middle with bonfires and a concession stand with s’mores fixings for sale.
We never solved the second half. After warming ourselves by that luxurious fire we couldn’t go back into the dark and cold. We made halfhearted attempts but kept redoubling back — to watch the full moon rise over the corn stalks, to watch the full moon rise over the eerie misty fields. We eventually walked the perimeter, back to the hay ride, back to the car, back home to caramel corn.
The next day I went apple picking. It really was a luxurious weekend. Saturday was my friend’s birthday and so I woke up and biked over to her giant, gorgeous cooperative house in the U District. It was full of out-of-tune instruments and former roommate’s journals and geometric stained glass. While waiting for the late arrivals, we drank bitter french press coffee and talked about astrology in a kitchen with glass jars of legumes on hard-to-reach shelves and a chore chart on the fridge. It felt like Ithaca.
After stopping at a gas station where I was not at all incited to buy a day-old egg salad sandwich, we drove on to Mt. Vernon. Not the original — I asked. The farm had a wide variety of pumpkins and squash, chickens roosting under Christmas trees and beautiful paintings of autumn loveliness. The orchard offered Jonagolds and I picked six.
And here they sit, on my kitchen table next to me, as I sit and write and tiptoe around my own house on my day off because a guy from work came over last night and we watched Poultrygeist and it was awkward and now it’s noon but he’s still asleep on my couch.