This bean is killing me.
Or is it saving me?
It’s not the bean.
I am quite comfortable with the bean.
I should be, they are in my pocket and narrative every day.
It’s the writing that comes hard.
I imagine it is similar to the path of the seed.
Full of potential.
Awaiting the right conditions.
To take the risk to burst forth from the safety of the shell.
To literally give their life,
Hoping that conditions will continue to foster their best growth.
The ultimate gamble.
I sit in a similar position.
In front of this computer.
Staring at Seneca Lake.
Dog by my side.
Emerging from my own type of shell as I find these words.
The words that I hope will inspire you to garden.
An ode to the ‘Rattle Snake’ Green Bean.
An annual love affair.
I have a story to tell of the seeds in the mysterious envelope are, and how they came to mean so much to me.
I first tasted it fresh off the vine, in my garden mentor Andreas Morris’s garden. It was slim, smooth, and beautifully streaked with purple. It tasted crisp, tender and so so sweet.
My life would never be the same.
I have grown them every year since my first taste and found that they became my favorite part of the garden, and also my favorite ingredient in the kitchen. A trellis of legumes reaching towards the sky, as they cononize all the sunny space on whatever trellis they are able to climb. I found my joy planting and picking these beans. I also often found that the best friends I could have would joing me in this activity. The beans brought the people together.
The bean, and nature in general desires our attention and action. Beans have evolved with humans for thousands of years because we have been in relationship. A reciprocal relationship. Our success to this very moment has been intertwined.
The simple act of planting the seed an inch into the soil, a few inches apart, next to a vertical support can create more of an impact than you can probably imagine.
On the metaphor of picking the bean with the people.
A bean wants to grow, to reach ever towards the sun. To grow to be able to produce flowers, with the intention of propogating life. To creating fruit. This is their operating sytem. Quite literally they take the ultimate gamble. To sprout and grow and hopefully create more beans capable of sprouting and creating more of ther magical life supporting energy. The bean is programed to serve life.
On the topic of serving life. This is where we humans come into the equation.
I first tasted those beans because they were grown on a homestead, for food, for beauty. They are quite simply the most delicious vegetable I have tasted. In a way, I seek to eat the very bean that the plant I love is hoping to mature. Is this a conflict of interest?
Woah, I got dark there for a moment. Trust me, there is a good conclusion.
It is found in the flowers.
The beans do not plant themselves, we plant them.
The planet needs us humans to become positive agents of flower creation.
That is really the point, because the bees love these flowers, and if we did not pick the beans, the plants would stop producing more flowers, thinking that their goal is complete. We prolong this season of flower creation, bean picking, flower creaton, bee feeding, flower pollination, fruit creation, etc. We bring our energy into this space of beans reaching for the sky and try to find all the beans. To keep these magical plants producing flowers for the bees and beans for the humans. Capturing as much of this annual abundance as we can, in the long days of late summer. It is always good practice to let some plants mature. To create viable seeds, for if we don't, we will have nothing to plant next year!
The Bean Tunnel
The 'Rattle Snake' Bean Patch in the Cosmos at Growing Heart Farm
One of my favorite memories of farming is being in my patch of beans at Growing Heart Farm. At dusk, in mosquito weather. Yet not getting a single bite as hundreds of dragonflies flew above me eating my blood thirsty adversaries. In that moment I couldn’t help but think that I was as connected to life itself as I had ever been. That nature literally saw the good that I was putting my energy towards and decided to reciprocate with beautifully benevolent predatory help. I remember friends young and old gathering with me in these moments. To feel this delicious connection with nature. I have a saying that no one person can spot all the beans, and we know we must find all the beans lest the plants stop feeding the Bees. It takes all ages and heights of people and I swear, the plants love the attention. They seem to enjoy the contact with humans, seem even to reach their tendrils towards us.
The beans reach for the sun, creating more nodes of flower and fruit creation until the winter frost lays waste to their annual affair. The vines will colonize their trellis until they fall back on them selves. The September trellis becomes almost a tunnel. Way above the height of a human and yet making all go to hands and knees. The bean tunnels, er I mean trellises have always been the heart of the farm. The place where all gather to step into the joyous flow of conection to this sacred earth. Kids get it. They eat the beans. Black labs too.
There is infinite potential for personal and planetary heath in the bean patch and that is how I see so much promise in a seed.
Lets plant beans together this year. If you want to find me in late summer you know where I will be.
Here are some friends picking beans.
Here is a poem
I trust in nature a whole lot.
With every part of my being.
This is why I carry the seed.
In my pocket.
That I give
As a gift
As an agent of life
Capable planting the bean
And inviting friends
To the garden
Here is a video I made about how this bean inspires me in the dark moments where I need to feel connected to Life.