One thing led to another.
After I was cut offline yesterday (because of reasons you know about), I decided to wander off for an hour or so. I had no destination whatsoever: I let my feet dictated where I was headed.
About three kilometers from home, I took cover in a roadside shed. It was only mid morning but the sun’s heat was relentlessly warming my whole body, extracting perspiration out, soaking my shirt with sweat.
Two other individuals were sitting side by side when I arrived. At first glance, they were acquaintances but as I approached closer I could see that they were both busy with their touch screen phones. Neither was talking: their fingers manipulated their respective gadgets without even recognizing who joined them.
“It’s too hot,” I commented, waiting for any response.
By now, I was beginning to be convinced that the younger generation nowadays was more interested with their social media status than their standing in the village. The I-don’t-care attitude at home kept them immersed in the virtual reality space they so eagerly joined to feel connected and wanted.
I stood up after a few minutes: if ever I wished for an interesting conversation, I might as well look for someone not holding an electronic device. (I left mine at home.)
I did find him after half a kilometer, wading in the irrigation canal, the water knee deep.
“Can I help you?” I inquired, taking off my slippers.
“Glad if you can,” he replied, holding a submerged sack, which I accurately guessed as palay seeds. It was part of the preparation for seeding three days later. “Can you push the other sack down?”
I knew the procedure by heart so instead of following his request, I jumped in the water and pulled the sack down. Still dry, it would float and it would be difficult to control with one hand holding another sack. The current was moderately strong.
In about twenty minutes, we tied the then sacks together to a post so that they would not be carried away by the current. Placing huge stones on top of each sack, the palay seeds inside would be soaked in water for thirty six hours.
“If my son is here, this job could have been finished before you arrived.”
I did not mention to him that I saw two teenagers by the shed. One of them has features that resembled the man in front of me. I was sure he was the one referred to.
“I think he does not want to be a farmer.”
He nodded, his lined face sad with that fact.
“My children want to change their future, out of the mud, out of here.”
As some form of consolation, I shared with him something to think about.
“What will happen if there are no more farmers left? Who will produce food?”
“That won’t happen,” he grinned. “As long as I am capable, I will continue with this job I inherited from my father, which he inherited from his forefathers. Others will do the same.”
I hope you’re right, I thought.