Still Blooming

illustration by KATHERINE SHIMADDA

For several years, I have planted my bean seeds in successive rows. I start the first row as early in the season as possible, then sow another row every one or two weeks. This way we always have a new supply of beans coming on as the earlier rows deteriorate.

Sometimes, though, older rows keep producing longer than I expect. One year especially stands out in my mind. I don’t know if it was due to the variety or the weather, but I was still picking beans from my oldest row in early November. It had been producing for almost four months! The plants weren’t much to look at—mostly vines with very few leaves. But each still had at least one bean and one bloom.

How could those poor plants keep on blooming? I finally decided the plant just didn’t know it was old and could retire. It didn’t know frost was coming. It just knew the sun was warm and it was created to produce beans, so it was going to keep on doing it.

I feel a kinship with them. I am a retiree. Sometimes I feel old and tired, and, unlike my beans, I know the frost is coming. But, like them, I know why I was created. So I keep trying to bloom each day. I turn up my face and vow to use the sun’s warmth and nourishment to grow the life which is still in me.

By Eleanor Cowles of Independence, OR.


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