This old man farms seven days a week.
He comes out early in the morning wearing flip flops, shorts, a long sleeved shirt and a baseball cap with a big brim.He has a machete in a sleeve on his belt and when he sees something that needs trimmed he pulls his machete’s long blade out and fixes his problem with decision and precision.
With a stubble of beard because shaving is a nuisance, he walks his property checking his rows of squash, cucumbers, casava, string beans – all produce that he sells in the market. Bamboo posts and fences make shade and structures for climbing plants and keeping trespassers out.. A smoldering fire of green leaves makes smoke that keeps mosquitoes down and there are always mosquitoes this time of year.
This old man’s most pressing problem is keeping kids from crossing his land to get to the closest road to town, trampling new sprouts and breaking his bamboo fences.
He looks happy when I wave at him this morning.
He waves back, squats down, and pokes his fire with his machete.
Someday he will not be able to farm, but, for now, he is a content, lean, productive senior.
He holds to his land like a man overboard clings to a life preserver.
I wouldn’t want to be one of those kids if he catches you.
His grip would squeeze the air right out of you and his machete doesn’t take prisoners.