The seven stages of bean picking:
Around this time every year they start to magically appear in grocery stores everywhere. What were once packaged in the styrofoam plate and plastic wrap are now overflowing from bins with big signs above them shouting at you “Green Beans!”. So you grab a bag and fill it. Maybe a couple handfuls, take ’em home and probably cook them until they no longer have that wonderful green color that they had in the store or when they were just picked. Maybe these beans are going to go with a special meal or maybe they’ll accompany a cookout. This is what you’re thinking about when you see them at the store in such great abundance. Snap beans are a sign of summer in farm life. Once the beans are in there is no turning back. What you’re probably not thinking about are how the beans were picked and the who, what, where and when of it all. I understand. I don’t think I ever thought of that either until, before I knew it I was out there in the midst of it all.
It can be a lengthy process. If you’ve played your cards right then there should be a hell of a lot of beans to pick. Before you know it you’ve been out for hours and before you know it you haven’t even finished a row yet. One day on the farm, we described the process of bean picking to be akin to the seven stages of grief. First comes the denial where you don’t really think it’s going to take you as long as it will actually take you to get thru a row. Then comes the pain and guilt (mainly pain) from going through the same motion over and over and even though you do your 7th inning stretches, let’s face it you just really want to sit down. Before you know it, you’ve slipped into the anger stage. Everything becomes irrational. Especially your perspective on snap beans. At this point hopefully you’ve worked your way at least half way through the row cause now were at stage number 4: reflection and depression but mostly reflection. Let’s just say now is not a good time to start reflecting on the meaning of life and asking questions like if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?. The reflection only leads to more reflection and one can only take so much reflection. From here you’re supposed to take an “upward turn”. Things start looking, well…up I suppose. The sky looks bluer, the grass I mean beans look greener. Maybe you even see that light at the end of the tunnel where you are no longer swalloed up by green snap beans and yellow wax beans and whether or not their ripe. It’s a good moment, embrace it.
Of course it’s by this time that you’ve also worked out all your issues and glitches and have “reconstructed” your outlook. It’s kind of like when you zone out and before you know it you’ve run 3 miles, or a 1/2 mile…which then leads into accepting that this is your destiny…well not picking snap beans per se, but you get the idea.
Through many experiments, my colleagues and I have concluded that as soon as the acceptance starts, it usually about time to start a new row and so you slip right back into the denial.
Oh yeah, and this is something I shot today while I was not picking snap beans!