I am not an idle person. Either my hands, or my brain (or my mouth) are running non stop. Heaven forbid I have three extra minutes to spare. But today, with the breaking news reporters recounting “shots fired,” I wanted to head for the mountains and hug my people then slip off into the woods and settle into the forest floor. I wanted to be idle. Silent. At one with nature. North Carolina is a long way from Georgia on days such as these. But alas, my want isn’t possible. The best I can do is unplug from the media and find joy in the simple task of shelling beans.
Even though Billy’s garden didn’t produce tomatoes this year, we were blessed with a late crop of half-runner beans. Long, bumpy beans that I’ve enjoyed almost every night this week for dinner. Billy is a seed saver. Correction: Billy picks everything on the vine. I sort food from seed. We have no idea what kind of beans we grow other than the delicious variety.
This afternoon, instead of sitting in front of the television fretting about the government shutdown and bullets being fired all over the place, I unfolded a towel, filled my lap with beans and commenced to shellin’ seed beans. A simple act that provides comfort for a girl who is far, far from home.
My mountain people grew up without internet and television. Heck my granny grew up without running water, but I digress. My people found pleasure in the simple act of shelling beans, and telling stories. They were doers, workers, shellers of beans. Today, as my fingers uncurl the pods and touch the slippery goodness inside, the simple pleasure of using my hands provided comfort to my worried soul.
Let me take a moment to say, “Thank You” to everyone who ordered copies of my ebook Mountain Memories, and who contacted me after reading the collection. I am honored. You could have chosen any book, but who chose to read mine. For that I am thankful. Below are links to my books both in print and electronic version.
Renea Winchester is the author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half Truths from Appalachia. Her work, In the Garden with Billy earned a GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release Farming, Friends and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Feel free to follow her blog and visit her website here.