Ripening Beans

Once I won a ham in a grocery store drawing. I was a kid and the ham wasn’t very big, but it was a prize. We ate it. Otherwise? Most of the prizes I’ve won in my life have been for running (through 9th grade) or public speaking (in high school). In my adult life? Only one. My novel, Martin of Gfenn, was shortlisted for an award by Chanticleer reviews. But to win prizes you have to compete, and I don’t like the competitive side of my personality very much.

Yesterday I was out with my beans. Li Bai, Tu Fu, Li Ho and Bai Juyi have had a GREAT summer out there, exceeding my wildest bean expectations. I’ve eaten several handfuls of their young beans and enjoyed them all — even last night. Now I’m allowing many pods to stay on the plants to ripen into beans for next year and or soup depending on how many I get. It’s strange but true that I get a peaceful easy feeling standing around my beans.

As I contemplated their beanish wonder yesterday evening, I thought of the passing season. I realized that it’s been a pretty nice summer, and I will be kind of sorry to see it go. I missed tea parties and lunches with my friends, especially Elizabeth whom I haven’t seen much. I missed visits from Lois but we had one short one. I guess I surrendered to the imperatives of this virus a while back and have mostly just forgotten about it.

When the beans are fully grown and ready, the pods turn yellow. I harvested a pod a few days ago. I brought it in and opened it to find 3 very large beautiful black and purple beans.

Yesterday I read a thing on “Brain Pickings” that resonated with me. It’s a long piece about Wendell Berry in which he gently rails against the “more” culture of consumerism. The part that struck me was this:

“In these times one contemplates it (life) with the same sense of hope with which one contemplates the sunrise or the coming of spring: the image of a man (whom Berry knew) who has labored all his life and will labor to the end, who has no wealth, who owns little, who has no hope of changing, who will never “get somewhere” or “be somebody,” and yet who is rich in pleasure, who takes pleasure in the use of his mind! Isn’t this the very antithesis of the thing that is breaking us (American humans) in pieces? Isn’t there a great rare humane strength in this — this humble possibility that all our effort and aspiration is to deny?”

I’m sorry but Li Bai, Tu Fu, Li Ho and Bai Juyi are too busy working on their beans to share any poems today. Li Ho even said “Poetry is for the young” and that almost led to a contretemps between the four of them, but they held it together and went back to beaning.

15 thoughts on “Ripening Beans

  1. Well – between huge gorgeous beans and Wendell Berry – you have given us much food for thought. Thank you. Also – a ham is a decent prize. Congrats. 🙂

  2. One of my favorite yoga teachers always reminded us that the joy of life is in being a human being not a human doing. The beans know it!

  3. Perhaps I am a human bean at heart. I am going to go back to beaning too! I sometimes live altogether too much in my mind but it feels right to just think!

    • Thinking is good as long as it’s not spinning our wheels. Beans are a big help. They’re all, “Hello, we’re beans. This is what we do.” And then they do it. ❤

    • I would be very happy to send you some beans to plant. I got a handful pretty much every other day from four plants AND there are a bunch left to ripen for next year.

  4. I have an ear worm now. Maybe that’s my prize for the day. 🙂 Those beans pods are a work of art.
    Martha, if you have time, I think you would enjoy my Friday song. It fits with your theme. It is not up yet. No pressure though.

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