On Shelling Broad Beans

in writing •  9 months ago  (edited)

There is a narrative of busyness that fills up the spaces in my mind. Neurons spark - reactions, thoughts, ideas, contemplations fire at such a rapid rate it burns out all the space to be one with the world, to dissolve the veil that floats between me and the world - the real world, the one thrumming and humming with vitality and aliveness in a way that the constructed world is not. Whilst I place my own gossamer screens between 'I' and the wind, the trees, the birds, the bugs and the whole singing earth, I treasure the suprising moments where I am able to press my fingers up against the fabric and feel the soft belly of the world touch me back.


Standing at the kitchen sink is an ordinary thing, routine. A time lapse film would see endless swirls of dirt and bubbles eddying, toast crumbs and knives smeared with honey, vegemite, avocado. Banana skins would sit flaccid and brown next to shreds of greenery, a compost bin overflowing with cabbage leaves, the flowered tops of chives, giving way in the next frame to sinkfuls of artichokes with earwigs scurrying, slugs and snails moving faster than imagined.

Yet sometimes, standing at the kitchen sink is a spiritual gift. Today I find myself shelling broad beans. My toes are cold against the tiles but I relish the feeling of bare feet nevertheless. I break the pods and slide my thumb along the velvety innards, popping and thwucking the vivid green beans into the colander. Every twentieth bean, perhaps, goes into my mouth. It is a childhood memory, perhaps, that keeps me in love with broad beans. The taste is not sweet, nor salty, nor sour - they are just broad beans, possessed of their own peculiar qualities - hated by those who grew up with soggy grey things over boiled and nauseating. My memory is different - my father gushing about the wonder of them, popping them into my mouth.


Amidst this percussive thwucking and rhythmic popping I slip into the moment, as if I have accidentally entered a room that I had forgotten was there. At once I see the beauty of the world outside that sometimes is obscured by the monotony of needs must - weeding, composting, planting, stopping the chooks trample the garlic. Three pelicans fly westward, drawing the gaze to the tops of the eucalypts that give way to the icy wind that not whips, not roars, nor gusts, but somehow speaks: wind, wind, wind in perfect is-ness of windiness without the need to apply measures of knots, though all sailing has been cancelled this weekend, lest people become lost at sea and masts broken.

The magpies look peeved. There are so many of them come Spring. I suprised one yesterday, accidentally sleeping on the path. It looked embarrased. This morning an Australian raven landed heavily on the front deck and cawed - seeing my quick shadow at the window, it skedaddled. How unfortunate for them their song is so abrasive. From the window I watch the New England honey eaters take shelter in the red flowering gum. The chickens have dug furrows like hares under the artichokes and happily dust themselves whilst the mother hen has her particular cluck to keep her two baby chicks in line.

The irises I planted outside the kitchen window so that I could stand at the kitchen sink and observe the irises have finally flowered. I never was a flower person, now, it seems I am. There are five colours of iris planted, and Flanders poppies gifted by a neighbour hold hands with my statue of Lakshmi, queens of abundance both. Calendula do not give up. Nasturiums tangle amongst the lemon trees.

How beautiful it is, shelling broad beans.


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This is so beautiful, I love how you write and how you have transported us so that we too see the beauty that surrounds, there is so much healing to be had when we are present and bare witness to the magic of the natural world xxx

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Thankyou so much honey. I was wondering if I'd ever get a comment - glad it was you! I thought of you yesterday in the garden, and how like me, you feel more at peace with the natural world than within four walls. xx

What a lovely writing of being in the moment!

And enjoy being barefoot for me, as those days are now over for me, forever. Sigh...

Aw, thankyou! Forever?? Really???

Yeah, a life time, year round barefoot person, too. I guess as I aged I lost the padding on the bottom of my foot and even a couple steps hurts.... unless I am in soft garden soil.

Broadbeans are always so quintessentially Dutch to me! My mother would cook the broadbeans and serve with a dutch style cucumber salad, flavoured with Winter Savory. I can't even SMELL winter savory without tasting broadbeans.

A delightful, poetic, lyrical post.

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Thankyou! Do you still like them? People seem to hate them or love them!

I love them. 😊