There can’t be a greater sin than breaking into a farmer’s shed.
A tattered hut built from collected and begged scraps,
made to stand on salvaged, old but reliable poles of timber,
cut open oil tin cans nailed to unwanted planks for walls.
For the roof, tin with the least holes sometimes bought
for a meagre amount. The only thing worth investing on.
This hut is the heart of the field, disguised by trees and rust,
the intent always to draw as little attention as possible.
Inside the hut is a little fireplace which is smoked the moment
the owner arrives to chase away insects or bigger creatures.
Logs serve as seats and the mud floor either gets a new coat
or loses a coating very time somebody walks in. There is a
deck made with bamboo or lighter wood. Not nailed, just tied
or balanced. Nails are for hanging baskets, bags and clothes.
The deck is for drying seeds, storing farming tools and other such
precious belongings that can’t be risked on the ground.
A farmer worries for his shed while lying on his comfortable
bed at night. If for some reasons, he hadn’t been able to visit,
he would ask his neighbors to have a look at it. He knows what
he had left there, how many grams of rice, how many spoons
of sugar, and how many pinches of salt. If any had been moved,
he’d know. He sits on the log outside sipping on tea or water,
hopeful or troubled by the conditions that year, thinking of family
and life,then he picks up his spade and step into the muddy water.
The little garden behind the cottage serves him as well as his shed.
Chilis, tomato, garlic, ginger and green leaves, what else is needed?
They remain long after the seasonal vegetables and fruits expire.
The best produce is always taken home while the last ones are
preserved for seeds. The farmer makes sure to devote some time
to this plot and show love to his fruits trees andhis banana grove.
When he hears somebody shouting, “Take a break!”, he would shout
back gratefully to his caring neighbors, “OK. I am taking rest.”
As the birds return to their nests and the cicadas start singing,
he washes his pots and working clothes and hang them inside.
He buries the burning wood under the ashes and places some
wet ones next to the fireplace to keep them dry for his next visit.
He inspects if everything has been brought in to safety and notes
what he will need to bring next time. He shuts the door and pushes
a rock at the footand then leans timber against it. Whoever tries
to open is cursed but these days, thieves aren’t even scared of that.
(Posted on zeneifromkohima)