Day Seven: Clandestine
On Sundays he tends to things set aside throughout the week. In high rubber boots and checkered wool, he trudges through the swampy mill yard, around deep ruts left by trucks and tractors, towards one of the outbuildings. A belt to replace, a few blades to sharpen, or some clandestine operation of machinery to be uncovered. Shards of daylight scatter across thirty years of grease and dust pressed into fir-planked floors as a shed door swings open. The soft, damp smell of oily equipment stretches lazily to greet him.
No corner of this land is unknown to him. No tool forgotten, no task abandoned. Ask him for anything useful and he probably has three of them. He knows exactly where to find them, how to fix them, when and where he got them, and which of the three would work best for whatever it is you're up against. He'll talk it over with you in gruff kindness and an unhurried drawl.
Outside, the wind bucks and checks against a surrounding wall of forrest. Woodsmoke tangled in a low fog spreads out across the morning, reaching after him in gusts. I see this place, and him in it, and I think of my father and my grandfathers and my uncles. I want to ask him questions, or for someone to at least. I want to pay attention and to learn what would take him a lifetime to teach.