A year ago, I would have filed it away as useless information.
But this year, I’m a hobby gardener.
And since I heard that statement a week ago as I was walking down a row of pole beans with Mr. John Willis, at his place in Pine Mountain, I have beheld it with a certain reverence and fascination.
“The vine runs clockwise.”
We were walking through his garden, beside the pole beans (sometimes called string beans), which are known for a tendency to wind and climb. The young tendrils look for something to wrap around and then begin climbing at remarkable speed. Mine grew approximately 3 feet in less than a week. Mr. John, like myself, had made a trellis of string and wire for the pole beans to climb but the tendrils had outgrown the 6 foot height of the trellis and were dangling in open air looking, it seemed, for something to attach to. So, as we walked, Mr. John would pause to gently pull the thin tendril to the trellis and then wind it around the string so that it continue climbing sideways or downward.
I followed his example. The row, after all, is a hundred feet long and there were lots of renegade tendrils that needed coaching to get back to the string. And that is when Mr. John made the statement. He pointed out that the vine, by God’s design, grows, bends, winds in a particular direction, clockwise, and that, in guiding it along the trellis, I should wind it to keep with its natural tendency. I don’t know that it makes any difference or not to the actual growth of the plant but I was struck by the farmer’s attentiveness to that which was under his care. It’s a small, small thing, a minor detail, but it shows a high degree of thoughtfulness and even a kindness to the world. It seems reminiscent of a God Who keeps account of sparrows and knows the hairs on our heads.