My son is 10 years old (almost 11) and for the past 3 years he has kept a garden in our backyard. Now it is not large by any means, some years it is simply pots placed on the patio to avoid the deer. This year it is even less as we are going through a renovation and every living thing surrounding our house has been trampled into submission. But somehow the beans have survived.
My father gave the seeds to my son in a small glass jar at the start of spring. Naturally I forgot about them and found them a few weeks later hiding behind a pile of papers and magazines. Thinking it was too late to plant them, but not wanting to disappoint my son or my father, we tried anyway. My son with his careful hands planted one small seed in dozens of holes he poked with his finger. He carefully smoothed the soil, watered them and waited. And then the rains came for weeks, sloshing water and dirt over the sides of the pot. Eventually a heavy tarp was tied from our roof to the patio railing directly over the pot of seeds. Oh well, I thought, so much for the beans.
Weeks later when the tarp was removed, the first thing my son noticed were the bean shoots defiantly rising above the soil. What a miracle! And they continued to grow, even though we never tied them to the railing as my father had shown us. And these were no ordinary beans, they were the long, almost sweet ones that are so simpatico with chopped fresh tomatoes and garlic. Divine!
So tonight, there was just enough for a serving of four. How proudly my son looked on as they simmered in the pan, waiting for a taste and the compliments that were sure to follow. And then pictures will be sent to Boston and phone calls exchanged between my son and his Nono who teaches him to plant and grow and nourish. They will talk about how long the beans grew and how delicious they tasted right off the vine, and how it is amazing they survived at all. Because you see the beans do more than feed our stomachs, they nourish a relationship between a boy and his long-distance grandfather. And what a gift my father has given to my child to appreciate the connection between the food and the earth, and the importance of rain, sunshine and patience. To understand that there is a beginning and an end to every season and to every thing, and that miracles do happen.