Chapter 2 - Planting
He walked over to the farmer’s cooperative with the same steady gait, intent upon acquiring a job to resupply his basic personal needs. He nodded to the older men as he approached and waited for them to officially acknowledge his presence.
“State your business,” one older man of evident stature spat out.
“I would like to hire myself out. I am skilled in metal work, leather work, and threshing,” replied the young man.
“Let me see your hands,” requested the old man.
The young man held up his hands.
“Hmm, yes, it would seem you know your work. What guild are you with?” the old man asked.
“I am not part of any guild, my lord. I am a freelancer looking for food, lodging, and a little pay,” he replied.
“It would seem from your attire and your beard that you are from the Edomite group of people to the east. Is this so?” a second elder asked.
“Yes, I am from the east, but my ancestry is from the southeast of here,” the man replied.
“Ah! Sumerian, I assume?” the old man inquired.
After nodding his head, the man answered, “Yes, Sumerian ancestry, but I am a man with no nation or family to call his own. I am only looking for work. I will not be any trouble.”
“Then you will want to go to the leather smithing guild over by the tavern and apply to them so your skills will not go to waste. I hear they desperately need a new leatherworker. The tides of change are coming, and the king has increased his leather-supply demands.” The man grinned with a toothless, knowing smile while wagging his thumb over his shoulder toward the leather smithing guild down the street.
The young man thanked him and moved on down the street and proceeded to acquire work for himself.
The days blended into weeks, and the weeks combined into months while the man worked the hammer and the hide. His work was becoming known throughout the area for its superior quality, and the volume of business for the owner was increasing each month exponentially. It was at this time, three new moons past the summer-harvest festival, when the man noticed his future—a hand of trepidation and gentle kindness. Looking up from his work, the young woman with the pools of blue sky looked straight at him, and her cheeks blushed with the crimson red of the young and uninitiated.
As with the hands love tasted
Smiling through a slow breath
Trembling lips of desirous parting
Have tipped the scales of want
The connected channel of heart’s light
Glows through the fog of the mind
Taking with it the seeds of lost campaigns
Driving forth tender affections of finality
Pulsing rhythms of shallow signs
Follow the lines and curves of life
Nature points to the direction
But time provides the conclusion
How does a man so small and finite
Given such inner dwelling of prose
Define the working of his hands
With a heart so full of want
And a mind so full of definition
That actions and conclusions intermingle
To ripple across the oceans of time
Coming to this one finality
Not knowing the love tasted
With life’s slow breathe
To bring ways of parting
Upon all people of want
At first, the man did not know what to think or say as the apparent point of purpose stared him in the face. She smiled behind her veil, keeping her eyes focused on his. Her feminine stature was entirely out of place in this workshop of men and fire. The smell of brimstone and blast furnace permeated everywhere, giving a distinct odor of decisive acquiescence.
She covered her nose with a hand of bronzed skin that glowed in the firelight, sending crystal-like sparkles shimmering up her arm. The man stared at her with a longing born from desperation—desperation born from centuries of history. Looking up into her eyes, he fell into pools of thought, knowing the path and not wanting to let go of his promise. She nodded her head and gestured for them to retreat outside; with him putting down his hammer and taking off his apron, she turned around with the supple grace of silk and a lilac aroma dancing off her person.
Following her, he recalled his first love, who was so far beyond memory that her face became lost in the annals of wind and sand for all time; his first taste of passion so strong that hammers of defiance or swords of justice could not conquer the need for fulfillment. It was this startling introduction to the world of love and desire that he dove into headlong with a heart full of purpose, not thinking of the causalities of his actions—those ripples that moved under the fabric of conscious awareness.
“My good sir, I have a request for you, if you are willing to take it,” she said.
“Of course, my lady. What is it you ask me?” he queried.
“My father is in need of two yokes for his oxen. Can you supply them by the next full moon?” she asked.
“Perhaps I can if I finish up on my current orders within the next fortnight,” he mused.
“Good. Father will come by tomorrow to provide the measurements and down payment,” she mentioned as she backed away from him with a twinkle in her eye and a deepening blush on her cheeks. “I look forward to seeing you again, good sir. May you have a pleasant day and blessings from the gods.”
“Thank you, and may the goddess of Heart’s Light continue to shine upon you,” he replied. His heart beat faster, and the telltale sign of desire climbed up his back to lodge itself firmly in his frontal cortex, blurring his vision and pouring doses of sweat upon his brow.
He shook his head and wiped his forehead while a faint twitch of a smile leaped across his face, betraying his inner thoughts. He turned and walked back to his anvil and the day’s work, knowing in his heart that the time for love’s intervention of hope had come.
He had been here many times before and knew the eventual outcomes—death and despair. He had sworn never to face the pain and loss of such moments again, but time had a way of healing his mind and making it forget those days. Was this to be a mistake? He knew his life was not one to be shared. No one could fully understand his predicament.