Saturday, August 9, 2008

Meditations on snapping beans

There's something oddly therapeutic about snapping green beans. It's the kind of mindless task that gets things done without a lot of effort. You can wash berries, but you don't feel you are doing anything. You can slice tomatoes or peaches, but your concentration is that of making sure you don't slice your finger yet again.

But beans? Lift, snap, done. Repeat.

It's oddly comforting, and so simple a toddler can do it. Which is probably why I appreciate it. I can listen to the news, talk to my child, pray, listen to the birds, make my list of things I'd forgotten to do at work that day, and not feel that something's been dropped in the process.

Today, I realized just how therapeutic snapping beans can be. We've had a difficult last few months, coupled with a child who's discovered biting as an attention getter, unusual stress with projects and budget season in the office, and a home that's just shy of looking like a tornado whipped about its contents. And yet, after receiving beans not only in the CSA share but also from our sitter, I caved about buying beans today. At the farmers market, I asked my oldest what she'd like to buy after surveying the contents: Green beans, of course.
Well there's always a freezer. And so, I spent nap time standing in the kitchen, feeling the breeze from the unseasonable cool day, listening to the Olympics recapped on the television, snapping beans one by one.

The tomatoes and peaches I'd chopped? Not so therapeutic. Yes, I'll love the Romas in homemade spaghetti sauce this winter, and we'll enjoy the peach cobbler tonight, but I always have that sense that maybe, just maybe, given my clutziness and lack of depth perception that I could wind up a casualty of the process.

But beans? There's a casual easiness to them that's appreciated on the most needed of afternoons. And even more appreciated when my husband cooks them!

1 comment:

bhelenj said...

One of the few memories I have of my mother is sitting in the shade in the backyard of my grandmother's house with my grandmother, mother and myself (I must have been 5-7 years old) and snapping green beans from my grandmother's abundant garden so that they could be canned for the winter. My grandmother had a huge garden. It covered almost a city lot.