Another year gone, leaving everywhere its rich spiced residues:
Vines, leaves, the uneaten fruits crumbling damply in the shadows . . .
moldering in that black subterranean castle of unobservable mysteries –
roots and sealed seeds and the wanderings of water.
—from “Fall Song” by Mary Oliver
Even as this summer’s growing season was winding down, and despite putting up almost more beans than the freezer could hold, our bean plants continued to flower and produce pods. Given that our vegetable gardens are quite humble in size and scope, I had never attempted to save the seeds from anything we grew, but something had to be done with those beans. So, I pulled up the plants, tied them together with twine, and left them to hang in the garage for awhile. When the pods were satisfactorily dry, and the hard beans rattled around inside, we brought the lot into the house and carefully extracted the smooth, hard little seeds. Now they will sleep through the cold, dark winter and perhaps—if we are lucky—they will bring forth next summer’s harvest.