Yesterday, with four nights of hard freeze in the forecast and possibly a foot of snow, yes, so early in the year, I got out every conceivable thing I could use to cover my 12 foot Scarlet Emperor Beans. I rehearsed wrapping queen sized sheets around them then (it took 2) and then climbing on a ladder to drop another over the top. It was doable but not easy and took 30 minutes. That’s nuts. A person can cover tomatoes, but 12 foot beans??? Twice as tall as the person hoping to cover them??? Four nights? I piled all the possible covers up on the dryer by the back door, ready.
I cut back the beans to six feet and brought the biggest bean pods inside hoping they’d ripen in a window. There aren’t many blossoms any more. The beans are working toward seed making. They know what season it is.
Goethe wrote about how often he’d gone to bed with a problem he couldn’t work out and woke up with the answer. That’s happened to me a lot of times and it happened again.
It hit me that it’s human nature to fight against change, a perceived enemy, for those we love, for what we perceive as justice. A major freeze and snowstorm in early September?
“Dammit, Nature!!!!! IT’S JUST NOT RIGHT!!!! Those beans deserve another 3 weeks of life and a chance to mature a couple more pods! I’m going stand against the storm and protect my beans!! Bean lives matter, Mother Nature, you bully!!!!“
“OK Sweet Cheeks. You have seven large, perfect and beautiful beans for next year. You know perfectly well that you don’t have space for more than five. I have to do what I have to do, and you know that.”
“Evanescent flowers I cannot bear to cut.”
Li Ho, “The Grave of Little Su”
We’ll see if Li Bai, Tu Fu, Li Ho and Bai Juyi, the Scarlet Emperor Beans make it through the storm. And, if they don’t? They all wrote beautifully about death, and here I am, a thousand years later, naming beans after them and quoting their poetry. Chances are very good I will name next years beans after them again. They’ve been good beans and good company in this strange summer.