Wednesday, October 20, 2010


In the last week I have been picking the last of the beans before the monsoon and musing on my relationship to these plants. How picking them is an exercise in balancing the growth of the plants so that they grow as many beans as possible for as long as possible.

All plants that we call vegetables produce them in an effort to grow seed, although we often eat them before they get to the seed producing stage. Once the plants have grown seed, if they are annuals (ie seeds planted every year) they stop producing and the plant dies. The long beans I have been picking are eaten at a stage of growth before they produce seed. Thus the more we pick, the more beans the plant grows as it tries to produce seed. It is important to pick all the beans that are ready for eating, otherwise they stay on the plant to grow to the stage where they produce seed and the plant gets the message to stop growing more beans.

Picking beans is therefore an exercise in balancing the plant. In making sure that all the beans that are ready have been picked, but not picking any beans that are not ready for eating. In that way we can keep the bean plant producing for the most amount of time although of course eventually it does get old and die.

It made me think about the balance I don't have in my life at the moment. How I seem to be too busy doing things I 'have' to do leaving me with too little time to do the things I 'want' or 'need' to do for my own health and well being. Unlike the bean plants I cannot rely on anyone else to create this balance for me.

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