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.

It, too, will pass…

Old person curmudgeonly griping ahead, be warned…

Summer is back. It took a while. It’s been a chilly spring and long winter, but yesterday it hit 85 (29 C). It’s that verdant season most people love, and I hate. Everything is green, flowers are blooming and stuff is coming up in the garden. I’m wearing shorts, a grim reality but even old people with crooked legs get hot.

Since I hate mowing the lawn, the kid who mowed my lawn last year is coming back this year for a repeat performance, but only 2 times a month. I have to adjust to this every year and I’ll do it again, probably, even, feeling a little sorrow when the blessed red maple down the street starts to turn, signaling the approach of what I tell Bear is “things getting good again.”

Three months from today is the Potato Festival which marks the end of droves of Texans pulling their “summer homes” — RVs — past my house. When September comes, you can feel the whole town sigh in relief. Everyone (except me) waits longingly for summer but, I think, when it’s finally over, the kids are back in school, the traffic slows back down (traffic being relative) and the job of making things grow is over for the nonce, everyone breathes easier.

The last iris variety to bloom. ❤

Summer awakens all kinds of expectations, I think. I remember as young woman I expected GREAT THINGS from summer that never happened. Maybe it’s the Beach Boys’ fault. 😉

In OTHER summer related news, the Rio Grande is under a flood watch — my town is under this flood watch. With 473% snow pack and the temps reaching summer levels, well, I guess I won’t be out walking by the river any time soon. I’m happy for New Mexico and Texas, though. Last year, they barely got any water from this river we share.