Resurrection by Sara Wright

Experts quiped
you would
not rise
Too old
they said
Pink and Rose
No one
to vine.
Gray green
by a
single root.
Bowed blade
round to
Buried deep.
Spiral loosens,
seeking sun
star heat.

Two translucent
leaves appear
Oh, remember
who you
Scarlet Runner
Auburn Light.

In the monotonous gray glare, spring feels like a dream. It is a challenge to stay present to now without succumbing to something akin to despair. Another round of raging northeasters… Will this winter ever end?

 But I have help. Mourning doves are cooing all day long, turkeys are gobbling, and flocks of chickadees and cardinals gather at the window for seeds. And yesterday, a ten minute visit from a Barred Owl, who just sat there looking in while  one cardinal perched and chickadees flew around his/her head just took my breath away.

And now I am witnessing the birth of a beanstalk!

Ten days ago I threw the mauve and rose seed in a packet of liverworts that I was taking to my friend‘s lab to view under a microscope.

The seed was an old one that I had used for a number of years in winter bouguets. Imagine my astonishment when I opened the packet and discovered the old seed had germinated! My friend, an experimental scientist and I peered at the root microscopically; I was astounded to see hundreds of rootlets waiting to penetrate soil that will eventually allow each to join a mycelial network, once transplanted.

When I reached home I planted the sturdy white root in poor compacted soil, the only untreated medium I had access to.

 One week later the seed was struggling to break hard ground. I noted the bulging surface. Within hours the seed case was visible as was a grayish veining leaflet that curled in on itself in a tight spiral as if saying goodbye to its root. After a trip to a greenhouse for organic (non – miracle grow) medium I amended the soil on the surface, raking some in with a fork, but left the root untouched.

  I photographed changes that occurred that day, obsessed by the process – and just as if I hadn’t been planting  seeds all my life! The naturalist in me is truly a child of wonder. Twenty four hours later I had a full fledged bean plant.

Yesterday’s poem was a tribute to my charged relationship with this particular bean. It wasn’t until I finished the writing that It became clear that the boundaries between the seed and me had blurred.

I have been a gardener all my life and had only recently given up growing scarlet runners because too many deer ravaged both vines and flowers. I adapted, giving up my garden, believing my life with scarlet runners had come to an end.

Well, not quite. I promised this bean that s/he would be allowed to grow into a magnificent vine safely. How I will acomplish this? You guessed it. Fencing, which I dislike because it creates such an artifical boundary, but I do use it to protect native white cedars from deer predation. When the time comes, months from now, if the plant thrives, I‘ll transplant a whole vine next to my fenced in guardian cedar!

Scarlet Runner beans are native to the Americas and have been grown for thousands of years. In southern areas they are perennial. The glowing profusion of sunset orange flowers attract hummingbirds, native bees, butterflies and other insects. The new beans are delicous to eat, and if left to mature will provide the grower with a bounty of beans that can be dried and turned into soups. They have a sweet nutty flavor. Scarlet runner beans are a wonderful addition to anyone’s garden! The caveat is that many animals like the flowers, the vines, and if you get that far, the tasty beans, so fencing is a necessity.

In New York and New England, the deer population has exploded because of the need to keep hunting  (thanks to fish and wildlife folks and the NRA). The result of overpopulation is  that native plants and trees are being destroyed by the thousands. Anyone’s garden is pure delight. Deer jump tall fences, so it’s often necessary to cover the top edges of your garden with more wire.

  Because mine was located just a few feet from the house I never imagined that the deer would become so brazen, but they did. After losing crop after crop no matter where I planted the scarlet runners, I finally gave in.

By giving hunters all the game they need to hunt we have created another problem that’s worth mentioning. These ungulates carry Lyme disease, and at present deer are vectors for even more toxic pests that attack both animals and people. One thing I have noticed is that not keeping a garden has cut down on deer visits, and I have fewer ticks to deal with in the spring. But I miss those vines. And when this last seed resurrected itself the moment it had an opportunity, I took the hint.

 I’ll let the reader know what happens!  

Author: Sara Wright

I am a writer and naturalist who lives in a little log cabin by a brook with my two dogs and a ring necked dove named Lily B. I write a naturalist column for a local paper and also publish essays, poems and prose in a number of other publications.

3 thoughts on “Resurrection by Sara Wright”

  1. I love the resilience of your bean. Please do let us know the rest of its story. Will this winter never end, indeed. On the 4th of April we are in the midst of a blizzard with four feet of snow on the ground still. It sounds like you at least have found ground. Best wishes to your bean!


  2. Sarah,
    You wrote, “In New York and New England, the deer population has exploded because of the need to keep hunting (thanks to fish and wildlife folks and the NRA).”

    I am no fan of the NRA, but that is not correct.

    The Deer were not kept for hunting, but to prevent extinction as part of an entire wildlife management program since the early 1900’s. We now have a bigger problem because they are not hunted to manageable numbers anymore and the predators that kept their numbers smaller have also been eradicated.

    Cornell has done some extensive studies on deer populations and management because of the negative impacts from deer on the University Campus.



    1. Read Cornell’s report – nothing new for this naturalist – we are not in the 11900’s anymore – and deer hunting continues unabated in Maine with this state being touted as the best state to hunt deer – Deer populations have deliberately been expanded to support this sport… I needed to have stuck to New England where this problem is getting worse.


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