The Small God, Pumpkin Spice

[image description: A black pony with large rust-brown eyes and a smiling pumpkin on her hip stands on golden and orange fall leaves. Behind her, the dark sky is filled with stars and her flaming orange mane shines brightly against the blues of night. Text reads “24, The Small God, Pumpkin Spice”]

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People assume she’s a newcomer, a fad, a frivolous flash in the pan.  But she was there when the first pumpkin pies were being baked; she was there when the first colonist cookbook was published, in 1769.  She was there when the British raided the rest of the world for flavors they could steal, and while her appearance may be sweet and adorable, her hooves are soaked in the blood of empire, for without conquest, she could never have been born.

But people, unwilling to consider the structure beneath the surface, look at her and see only big eyes, a flowing mane, a coat as soft as silk and as dark as midnight, and they mock her adherents, call them “basic” as if anything could be considered truly basic when it had been built through so many crimes.

Every piece of her was stolen.  Every pinch and particle was the subject of a terrible war.  The price of cinnamon is slaughter.  The fee for nutmeg is subjugation.  And now we serve her sacraments with whipped cream and sugar sprinkles, as if both those things had not also been stolen at some point, as if a foamy cloud could somehow clean the blood from those long lashes.

In these modern days, her most common manifestation is blended with sweet cream and coffee—a drink that has many gods of its own, that has sparked even more wars than her cinnamon pungency.  But for most of her time, she has been carried in the pie.

Pumpkin pie.  The ultimate jewel in the crown of colonialism.  Cooking techniques from Europe, spices stolen from India, Asia, and the Middle East, and a vegetable crown taken from the Americas, sliced and mashed and mixed until its wildness is lost, subsumed into custardy blandness, become one with the melting pot.

She’s not a newcomer.  And she’s not nice, either, and so few of those who worship her understand, anymore, that she’s not a god of whimsy or basic delights.

She is, now and always, a god of war.

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