Due in part to a cool June, some of the crops have arrived late this summer. Usually by early September, I will have already harvested dozens of pole beans. Yet, here it is Sept. 1, and this initial, solitary pod has only now appeared.

The pole beans make a distinctive impact on the garden’s architecture. They rise above spreading squash leaves, surge over the greens of carrots and onions, and construct a twisting tower of climbing foliage in the middle of the yard’s mostly foot-, knee-, and waist-high flora.

When they are late, they leave a noticeable gap.

The pole beans and I have a history in this small backyard garden. During mid-and-late-summer, I expect to see them. I remember the first wonderment I experienced years ago when I watched them unfold from seed to seedling to vine to pod; slender, green fingers emerged from small, white flowers up and down an unfurling wall of green. They’ve yielded enough of a harvest every year to allow us to freeze dozens, and to enjoy them deep into the winter.

Unanticipated lateness can stir diverse emotions: frustration, sadness, puzzlement, or longing. Its resolution can bring clarity, joy, or a sense of completion.

The sign of this lead, delayed pod emerging ahead of others that will soon follow provides some assurance that once again, hopes for the garden’s bounty will have been realized.

This first, hanging bean quietly assures me that our story does indeed continue through one more season. 

Rich Kordesh

Oak Park

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