A Slow and Steady Walk Home
A hoe set on his stooped shoulder, my neighbor’s trudge past my kitchen window pricked up my ears most mornings.
I would only be easing into my day: making coffee, toasting bread, listening to poetry and jazz or classical music on Antenna 2 radio station.
Bom dia. Good day.
How could I feel overwhelmed by work on my land when my much older neighbor persevered on his and was so generous with advice, even his handmade tools, for me?
Because of his longevity in our Portuguese village, he may have walked past my house longer than I had been alive. I am 66.
He told me that that there had been a chestnut tree that towered over my house. Because of this, I planted a chestnut three years ago and told him so. A nod to the future. The tree now is pushing up to my height.
A year ago, my neighbor stopped the clock of his own volition.
That morning, he walked past my kitchen to his land carrying rope.
He had olive trees with which he shared an intimacy from years of pruning and bashing with a stick for the harvest to come raining down.
This time, he became the fruit.
Some mornings, I still hear him.
I miss him.