Monday, August 4, 2008

Listening to the Garden

I remember hot August afternoons on my grandmother’s front porch, stringing and snapping and shelling.

I had to eat so many green beans when I was a kid that it’s a miracle I’m not green today.

But I still know what’s good. So I planted enough half runners this year to put some up. Now, harvest time has arrived. This morning, I found my Ball Blue Book, took out a fresh box of canning salt, lined up the empty mason jars on my kitchen counter, and set out for the garden, bags and buckets in hand to gather a mess of beans.

As often happens, I got distracted as soon as I set foot in the garden. I was unprepared for an aural assault. Not just the chirping of the birds and the chattering of the insects. It was humming. Thrumming. Murmuring. Buzzing. Droning.

It rolled me back on my heels. Next to my bean rows, the stalks of corn were covered with bees of various kinds. Hundreds of bees. Thousands of bees. The garden was filled with the sound of their wings. The bees were collecting pollen from the tassels atop the corn plants, their knee sacs bulging with the golden harvest.

The corn patch was full of life, bees and butterflies, beetles and fireflies. The ears of corn are ripening, but they’re not ready yet. In a week or two, I expect I’ll be enjoying the corn just as much as these creatures are enjoying it today.

Until then, I’ll be busy canning green beans…

…and listening to the garden.

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