Summer Memories: Picking the Beans

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Within the metallic mesh fence that protected the vegetable garden, I peered into the leafy jungle. Slightly fuzzy leaves rose along a bamboo framework, and nestled inside, dangling in the shady nooks, the green beans hung. Having been dispatched by my Mom to pick some beans for dinner, I’d ventured into the garden in the hour before eating. It was quiet and still. The morning cacophony of bird calls and waking had given way to the riotous pool splashing of high noon, but now the day had settled into itself. In other countries this would be the time for a siesta.

The act of harvesting instills a sense of contentment and accomplishment. I don’t usually grow vegetables, and there’s a difference between a decorative plant that produces beauty all season long, and a vegetable which produces something that physically nourishes you. Both have their purpose, both have their merits. I’ve just always sided with the prettier choice.

On this summer afternoon, however, I find peace in picking beans, in the stillness of the garden. My hands are soon filled with beans, which I drop into a bag which soon fills as well. I walk over to the tomato cages and rustle through their fragrant hairy foliage. The fruit (or vegetable, let’s not debate it) is not quite ripe. Same with the eggplants and peppers. For this day, the green beans will have to do. That’s the way summer goes.

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