And he discovered that when he felt sad, his eyes would mist, and he marvelled that this could be so
And now, so many years and so much life after, every day at that peaceful hour, he prayed for his mother and for his father, taken from him when he was barely ten years old.
In his prayers, he asked them to be patient and wait for him. He considered that it was only a matter of time, and he would soon arrive to catch up with them, wherever it was that they were, for each day he woke to find himself, one day older than the day before.
Forever after, he would fondly remember those placid mornings, perhaps a bit chilly on the outside, but none the less filled to the brim with that particular warmth of family life and its beautiful simplicity.
While slowly, tears, barely visible, appeared in the corners of his eyes, carrying traces of his heartfelt sadness.
As the years went by, these became an entire lifetime
The days of his infancy overflowed with of a multitude of events and chores, all of these bathed in that particular colourful light of the innocent freshness of childhood.
And yet, those so special moments, right before dawn of the new day would stay as his favourite and most cherishes recollections. They would lie in the deepest reaches of his soul, inexorably tagged as the happiest times of his entire life.
And now, so many years, and so much life after, every day, at that peaceful hour, he prayed for his mother and for his father, taken from him, when he was barely ten years old.
When a child, he was anxious to become an adult; when an adult, he was anxious to return to his childhood
Magnifico knew very well that his father didn’t mind his arriving later than him to the shed. Actually, he once overheard a conversation between his parents in which they had broached that particular subject.
“He’s growing so much bigger by the day, and now, he does look more like a young man than a child, don’t you think, Tomas?”, his mother asked on that occasion. “Yes, that’s definitely the case, I’m surprised how fast it has happened. He really doesn’t look his age anymore.” Juanita their dog and Magnifico’s faithful guardian, listened attentively to the conversation. And effectively, he had grown much taller and very quickly at that. Probably because of so much physical labor, he had developed a strong and solid body. His muscles were firm and could take the hard toil of the strenuous work at the farm with ease. Magnifico did look more like a young man than like a ten-year-old kid.
“You just wait and see, Momma; before we know it, he’ll be arriving at the shed way before I do.”, his father remarked. How quickly we went through his childhood, Papa”, Magnifico’s mother answered thoughtfully. At that, Juanita nodded and sighed sadly, as if lamenting Magnifico’s quick passage through his childhood.
“Oh, he’s in such a hurry to grow up, all the time asking when will he wake up earlier. As if becoming a man depended on what time you wake. What do you think, Ma’am? When he really reaches manhood, he’ll realize how wonderful it had been to be a child… But, we all go through that, do we not?
And the more he dreamed about tomorrow, the more he forgot about today
An outstanding kid, like any other of the many kids that lived in the country. Magnífico would help his father with the milking; then, he it was time to take all the animals out to the pasture. And of course, he also had to work making the different kinds of cheese.
It certainly was hard work, but Magnifico enjoyed working outdoors in those open spaces in the farm, relishing the fresh air and taking in the views of the surrounding countryside.
His favorite landscape was, undoubtedly, the one he enjoyed from a clearing, where he walked the goats to graze. Since it was high above the nearby land. once he arrived, he could peacefully admire the Nevado del Ruiz, an impressive volcano with its summit perennially covered in snow. According to the legend, the volcano would sneeze occasionally, because of its everlasting cold.
In that simple life, they found all they needed and they found they need anything else
The facades at the centre Querétaro, Querétaro, México
With the milk from the cows, the goats and the sheep, they made the creamy and delicious cheeses, and they were more than good. They sold quickly in the Santa Isabel market or in the market in Murillo, depending on the occasion.
When they took their cheeses to sell them; invariably, they found that they just weren’t enough, but they came back from the market, happy with the sales; it was plenty for all they needed and still there was still some money left over to save a bit on the side, and that was good. Sometimes, they took them all the way to Manizales where they virtually grabbed them from their hands and were paid very well for them, especially the cream-cheese and the buttermilk.
On those days, they would shop for the few things they needed at home. Sometimes they would stay for lunch and spend a quiet while before heading back.
Every day the chickens and the coop had to be looked after, and that was one more of Magnifico’s tasks. Early the boy would help gather the eggs, after the milking was done and before taking the cows out to pasture.
Then, the best time of the morning arrived, breakfast at home with those same eggs he had barely picked, scrambled with fresh onion and tomatoes just out of the orchard and Lencha’s fresh cheese.
Back from the market Supía, Caldas, Colombia
Completely full and with no time to rest, he swept, cleaned, and fed the animals at the chicken coop. Then it was the same at the pen with the goats and sheep. Meanwhile, his Dad cleaned out the stables and attended the horses and the mule. By then, one more day had begun…
She was the sorceress of the altars in the kitchen
Magnifico’s mother never agreed to keep pigs at the farm. At least once a month, she would dedicate herself fully to the making tamales (steamed corn meal rolls filled with pork and spices). For the tamale fillings she preferred to buy a piglet from her neighbours, who had their farm on the other side of the hill and towards the village. They knew her well after many years as neighbours, so they would kill the piglet the same day, and early in the morning, they delivered the carved meat, just as she preferred.
For the rest of the chores, she knew her way around, perfectly well. Between the vegetable patch, the orchard, and the greenhouse, there was an abundance of fresh vegetables and spices at her disposal to prepare the delicious tamales. As far as the corn was concerned, she would gather it a few days before, taking care to pick the most tender ears in the patch. After she would grind it in the mill, behind the kitchen, where she would also would prepare the corn dough.
She knew exactly how to season the meat so delectably, with the fresh herbs and vegetables that she had barely gathered a few hours before. Finally, she would wrap the rolls in the corn leaves that she kept tied up in bundles in her pantry.
What didn’t happen in a year, happened in a while… just like our life
“Hey Papa, that thing about growing, I don´t feel like a child anymore, how long does that take?”
“Well, that’s stuff is on its way, now. Very soon, very soon, son, you’ll see. Getting up earlier doesn’t make the sun rise sooner, son. Look, you keep yourself together. If the cows learned how to give milk on their own, why you’ll learn to get up in time and receive it, on your own too. Remember boy, what didn’t happen in a year, can happen in a while, and all of a sudden, that while has come and gone, just like our life.”
In the chicken coup, they always kept around fifteen egg-laying-hens; there was also an old rooster, who still felt he was young and in charge; also, they had a couple of young roosters who wanted to take over, though the rooster still kept his own. Also, there were a capricious amount of chickens. Sometimes more, and on occasion less, all depending on the situation.
Magnifico’s mother, also had an orchard and a small greenhouse at the back of their house. There, she grew all sorts of vegetables, different herbs and spices. Eventually all that would end up in the kitchen of the house, with its huge wood burning stove that they also used to warm the house during the cold days in the winters. Possibly the most beautiful aspect of the orchard was the many flowers she grew; just because, she loved to admire them.
The quetzal-man San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México
In the mornings she would go out to the orchard to gather the vegetables and the spices for the day. That way she knew that the food would always taste so fresh and delicious. Actually, there were only a few things that she needed to buy at the market, for the farm, though small, was almost auto-sufficient.
She loved going to the big markets in Pereida and Manizales, to look for seeds to grow new plants in her orchard and greenhouse. When she couldn’t go that far she would go to the smaller markets in Murillo and El Libano, where the merchants knew her and always had something for her.
Sometimes, the chores would be too much for them. Then, some workers from the nearby farms would come to help and work for the day.