It is a June morning here in the South and, just last week, I lost my annual struggle with the female occupants of our house to leave the air conditioning off. While it is, admittedly, rather warm and humid, I do miss the connectedness that an open window gives me to the out-of-doors. Just last night I violated common sense rules of energy efficiency and opened an outside door to our bedroom so that I could hear the sounds of a late night rain.
At our cabin in the mountains, we built a replica of a covered bridge over a nearby creek. Along with the music that the stream provides, it is a great place to spend the night especially if it’s raining. The tin roof is a drum for the raindrops as they plink their mesmerizing tunes.
Sleeping inside a sealed up house causes me to miss nighttime sounds. In the warm spells of late winter, it’s spring peepers. The season marches on to the tune of Barred Owls, then Crickets, Tree Frogs, and, in mid-summer the lonesome calls of cicadas. In the last few years, I’ve also become enamored of the chilling yips of coyotes as they comb the countryside in pre-dawn darkness.
This morning finds me in the vegetable garden at our Kennesaw home attending to the start of what looks like a good year. To my chagrin, the rain last night, heavier than I thought, beat down most of my sweet corn; however it should recover. After picking peas, squash, and some dry beans, graying skies march in with thunder. Not wanting to miss out on the coming precipitation a line from the Beatles’ song rumbles through my head. . . “When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads, they might as well be dead, when the rain comes. . .”).
I get a folding chair and set up in the door opening of my garden shed prepared to shell the recently picked ‘Black Coco’ beans. Some gardeners would advise to simply leave the pods on the plant until they are completely dry. However, I am concerned the regular storms we are experiencing may cause the pods to rot. And so I shell those purple-black legumes rolling like fat and lazy jelly beans into the container on my lap. The rain picks up in intensity and splatters a cacophony of notes onto the metal roof of my shed; I surround my feet with a bucket barrier to keep the rain from splashing my already dampened shoes. I can think of no better place to be.
There’s an old country saying that “A summer morning thunderstorm is like an old woman’s dance” and this one is no exception. In the fifteen or twenty minutes it takes me to shell a quart or so of beans, the rain begins to cease. I put the beans in a food dehydrator to complete the process of drying that nature has begun and head back out to stake some bamboo that is heavy with new growth and wetness and is leaning out too far over the garden path. The twine I am carrying is prominently labeled “American Hemp” with a small note just above – “Made in Hungary”.
There is much to enjoy in both the natural and human-made worlds.