When I arrived, he was fully dressed, showered and shaved, but resting in his bed. We missed a week and I wondered how his vacation with family had been. He admonished me with a smile saying he had waited and I hadn’t come on time. I sat and he took my cold hands in his warm ones. He smiled so wide, his ill-fitting teeth shifted but his green eyes danced with joy. I sat chatting until my odd position began tweaking my back muscles. He rose from the bed and we set about our task of the morning – cleaning and trimming Brussel sprouts.
His wife left on errands and we headed out to the cool day. The sun is weaker but in a spot out of the wind one could be quiet comfortable. We walked down the drive to the quince tree and the sheep field. The curious lambs watched as I brought a lawn chair. He sat and pointed out the particularly ripe quince with his cane as I clamored throughout the prickly brush. When I had a shopping bag full, he rose and inspected my car. Pulling the passenger door open, he inquired about the various controls.
Nothing would do but we decided to tour the farm. I rolled down the windows, turned up the heat and we set off at a leisurely pace of about 3 miles per hour. When we reached the upper field, he directed me to drive into the croft and circle so he could look back at the farm. Was he thinking that he knew every hillock and dip in the land? Was he remembering the years he had driven a tractor over this very land with no thought of ever being unable to work the soil every day? I was thankful for 4-wheel drive and a stout little vehicle. We parked beside the greenhouse where late green beans covered the bushes just inside. I grabbed another bag and set about picking enough for his lunch. When hopped back into the driver’s seat, he grinned and apologized for “stealing a few Altoids mints” from my tin. He is on homeopathic remedies and a wholly organic and careful diet. Sugar is a huge NO! but what could I do.
We parked next to the chickens and watched the rooster endlessly try to round-up his hens. We stopped to greet the pigs and bumped along the edges of the corn field admiring the changing leaves.
“When you can not work nor even write about your day. When you can no longer do anything but sit, you see the most minute of changes. Yet, when you can look back at where you sit, you are free.”