Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Z-Word

Last week I attended an opening at a local art gallery.

Someone was handing out zucchini.

No, it wasn't some abstruse performance piece. What it meant was: it's July in Minnesota.

Oh gods, it's that time of year again. Overabundance, thy name is zucchini.

One day last summer I was out mowing the lawn. A woman walked by with a shopping bag in her arms. As she passed, she reached in, pulled out an overgrown zucchini, and handed it to me.

We both laughed and she continued on, seeking yet another unwitting victim.

My friend David has a rule of thumb: never eat a zucchini larger than your finger. (Yes, Virginia, witches do eat babies.) Oh, but timing is all. One day I thought: I'll pick that zucchini tomorrow.

Woe worth me, I forgot.

Two days later, when I finally remembered, said squash was already the size of my forearm.

Forget the meek. Here in the Midwest, everyone knows that zucchini will inherit the earth.

Someone once asked Garrison Keillor why Minnesotans always lock our cars.

He explained that otherwise, when we get back, we will find them filled with zucchini.

It's a wonderful time of year, really. After life, food is the best of gifts. Hard times, hungry times: these will certainly come, times when a little food can mean the difference between life and death.

But for now, for this one sweet, shining moment, we can, in this season of burgeon, be profligate, giving away our plenty to strangers that we meet on the street.

Mother, I sing your praises: Earth, your name is Abundance.


You can read Marge Piercy's classic poem Attack of the Squash People here.






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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Friday, 15 July 2016

    Way back when my family had a vegetable garden we grew yellow crookneck squash. We had enough for a family of six but I don't remember giving any of it away. There was one summer when we were especially blessed with tomatoes, and were able to give some away. Unlike zucchini nobody seems to mind being given home grown tomatoes.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Saturday, 16 July 2016

    Always the zucchini, never the tomato.

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