never not noticing

Shopping at the grocery store for my Christmas meal; while I went with the asparagus, I couldn't help pausing over the green beans and remembering a sunny day spent meandering through a garden, snapping off beans as I went, furtively eating the beans like candy. Thanks Mary Oliver, you always make things more lovely.

They’re not like peaches or squash.
Plumpness isn’t for them. They like
being lean, as if for the narrow
path. The beans themselves sit qui-
etly inside their green pods. In-
stinctively one picks with care,
never tearing down the fine vine,
never not noticing their crisp bod-
ies, or feeling their willingness for

the pot, for the fire.
I have thought sometimes that
something –I can’t name it —
watches as I walk the rows, accept-
ing the gift of their lives to assist
I know what you think: this is fool-
iciness. They’re only vegetables.
Even the blossoms with which they
begin are small and pale, hardly sig-
nificant. Our hands, or minds, our
feet hold more intelligence. With
this I have no quarrel.
But, what about virtue?
--Mary Oliver, from Blue Iris


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