Day 7


He had tended to the trees in his garden for an immeasurable time, had forgotten how to hunt critters or fetch water from the deepest crevices in the ground, but he could remember with bewildering exactitude the time and date when the seeds of a particular plant were sown, the number of petals on a flower, the depth of roots of trees that his grandfather had planted or the various names of weeds that he himself had so ardently given to them. As a child, he could not be kept away from the barren land, and despite his mother’s constant admonitions, he would follow his grandfather all the way up to the mountains, help him in uprooting the trees and wild plants, and carry them all the way to the plot at the end of the mountain.  He would then stand near the side wall that separated the house from the wasteland, and quietly observe his grandfather tilling the soil with his hands, and planting that which was to later be associated with him in marriage. The first of his three wives was the only one allowed to enter his garden during lunch and supper time, and perhaps his only companion for a few moments of general conversation.



His eyes shone as wildly as the weeds he cared for, but his unkempt beard of ligneous texture gave his face a seemingly lost look. He had a stately demeanor about him, standing taller than the gate that led to the garden and he always had the scent of wet soil trailing him. But what stood out the most from his appearance were his hands. The dirt-laden bronze hands, delineated with veins spelled out the most ancient of toils. Even before eating his meal, he would not venture out to wash his hands, and would lick his fingers with his tongue, much to the repulsion but quiet understanding of his first wife. The lines on his palms had faded back into the ground long time ago and his nails, which had caught the color of the wood, had stopped growing altogether at the time he had sown seeds for a stunted tree. His hands were often seen watering the weeds, or caressing the trunk of an old tree, or plowing the soil, or occasionally, putting small morsels of food in his mouth.

He had a mind to change clothes once every two months, and that is when his daughters would spend their next few days stitching the ragged pieces together of what was left of months of constant wear. He had cobbled together, from old barks and twigs, a pair of wooden slippers for his daily use but had rarely worn them as he preferred walking on the ground bare foot. The moist soil beneath his feet as he treaded lightly upon it to tend to the trees that he so dearly cherished, was an inimitable feeling for him.


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