It is around half an hour past 4 in the morning, as the heavens descend upon the leaves and rocks as pristine droplets of dew, and the starry night starts coming to an end. A rooster in Mithon's farm starts crowing loudly, and is soon followed by others of his kind across the village. One by one, the bedrooms of the few dozen houses in the village light up, signalling the start of day for the villagers.
Mithon and his wife, Asherah, wake up from their slumber, tidy their bed, and move downstairs. Their grandchildren are still deep asleep in their bedrooms. The old, but sturdy man is followed by his wife out of their beautiful little home in the village. With a torch, Mithon and his wife set off for their farm, about a mile and half away from their humble abode. On the way, they're joined by many other, old couples, going to their farms. They all exchange niceties, and move forward.
They soon reach their farm, a relatively small vineyard in an ocean of them, with grapevines as far as the eye can see, only obstructed by the sight of an occasional farmhouse or cattle. By this time, it is almost half an hour past five, and the morning sun is seen gently rising from the horizon. Mithon goes into the farmhouse, while Asherah goes behind it. Inside, Mithon takes a few small bundle of hay, and starts moving towards the rear of the farmhouse. There, Asherah is milking the cows, and Mithon gives them their food for the morning.
As they have a vineyard, one must have the question as to why they have cows. Until the 1970s, lack of proper equipment and proper irrigation facilities meant that the region's grape farming industry was subject to sudden and unpredictable fluctuations in the weather and rainfall patterns. Thus, the governments of the time encouraged, and even paid farmers, for owning a few cattle, so that in case the rainfall was low that year, they would have at least one stable source of income. This scheme also benefited the dairy industry, as they now had a stable supply to milk.
The programme was a massive success. Since then, construction of canals to divert the water of the Rhone, and improvements in fertilizers and harvesting technology has greatly improved yields, farmers of the region continue to raise cattle, giving them some extra money apart from the already profitable grape business. After the cows were milked, the dozen or so litres of milk that Asherah collected were out onto the back of a truck beside the farmhouse by Mithon, and the wife and husband left the farm, to go to the milk collection centre of the village.
In a few minutes, by the time the sun had completely risen above the horizon, Mithon and Asherah reached the milk centre. There, they were met by the friendly face of Adhamon, the milk centre's head. They gave the cans of milk to him, and they were given some money for the milk. Asherah put the cash Sphaeras into her intricate, lilac purse, and the couple set off for home.
As they reached home, they were treated to the sleepy, but smirking face of their eldest granddaughter, Adonica. Asherah took her into her arms and hugged her, wished her a good morning with the Gallo-Phoenician word "Bongu!", and went inside. Mithon parked the truck by the garden of the house, and went inside, too.
Inside, two of his grandkids, Billy and Kris, the twins, paced towards him, exclaiming "Nannu!", or grandfather, in excitement. He hugged both of them, wished them good morning, and told them to go brush their teeth for breakfast. As they went, Mithon went into the kitchen, and Asherah gave him a nice cup of coffee. He sipped the drink from the cup, slowly, thinking of his wondrous grandchildren.
Mithon's delicious breakfast, prepared by Asherah
Mithon and Asherah have two children, Christophe and Alexandre. Both of them are well-settled, IT professionals, happily married, and living in Phoenicia. Every summer, when their children have school holidays, the brothers send them to their grandparents, both for the old couple's happiness and some much needed relief from the hardships of parenting. The kids, Adonica, Bella, Azmel, Billy and Kris, stay for almost a month with their grandparents, enjoying the nature, away from the salty winds of the sea and the business of city streets.
Christophe and Alexandre left with their wives around a week before, while their kids would stay in the village for two more weeks. Suddenly, Kris interrupts Mithon's peace, and asks Mithon for taking him out to the farm. Mithon says that they will go after eating their breakfast and freshening up. Asherah served them a nice breakfast: bread with some raspberry jam and some raspberries, with some coffee on the side. The kids munched on the scrumptious meal, and on Asherah's command, went to their rooms to get freshened up.
By about 8:30 in the morning, the children got all ready and dressed up. Adonica, Bella and Azmel would stay at home with their grandmother, while little Billy and Kris would go with Mithon to the farm. Thus, the boys and Mithon bid farewell to the family, and went to the farm on the little truck. They reached the farm in a few minutes, and were met by Marie and Guillaume, the workers employed by Mithon to work in the vineyard. They greet the kids and their employer, and go back to tending the vines.
In the farms, Mithon takes the kids through the grapevines, explaining them all about the plants, how to grow them and what products are made from them. Their childlike wonder will not last for long as the grow up, and Mithon wants to make most of these days. After about an hour or two wandering in the farm under the gentle sun of the late summer, the exhausted trio retreat to the farmhouse.
The delicious Quail that was prepared for lunch
After relaxing there for sometime, they leave the farm at about eleven in the morning, and go to the market in the village centre by foot, as Mithon and his generation believe they need to maintain fitness, even in their old age. After almost half an hour, they reach the bustling town centre. It was a Saturday, so the market was quite full with vendors selling various things, from cutlery and vessels to novels and dictionaries. Mithon purchases some groceries, and the kids buy a toy figurine of King Christophe II ; his popularity has increased heavily after the war was won.
By half an hour past noon, they reach home, and Mithon gives Asherah the groceries to cook the special lunch for the weekend. As she starts cooking, he sits down with all of his grandchildren, except the 14 year old boy Azmel. He's busy playing some video-games in his room, and cannot be persuaded to stop playing them. They start watching the news together ; the day's headlines were about the elections and that the peace conference was delayed.
After about 45 minutes, Asherah announces that lunch is ready, and Mithon and the grandchildren go to the backyard of the house to eat their lunch. Azmel comes down, too, after Asherah gets a tad bit angry and shouts at him. As they sit on the benches, under the shade of the tree amidst the beautiful garden, Asherah serves them some delicious quail with some mashed potatoes. After savouring the food and strolling in the garden for some time, they go back to the home, and go to bed for some afternoon sleep.
At around 30 minutes past four in the evening, Asherah wakes all the kids up and tells them to get ready and freshen up. In about half an hour, all the kids line up downstairs, energetic and joyous, and they set off from the house with their grandparents. They walk through the busy village centre, and reach the banks of the pristine Rhone river, now in full flow with the rainwater flooding parts of France upstream. Mithon and the boys go to the fishing dock, while Asherah and the girls go to the riverside gardens.
After almost an hour, the group meets again, Asherah and the girls looking rather tired but happy, and Mithon gently laughing at the disappointed and the frowning boys ; they couldn't catch a single fish. Asherah cheers up the boys by promising them video game time till late in the night, and they start walking back towards their home. Midway, however, Mithon stops near an old, yet green tree, under which a lot of old men were sitting. The others go on towards the home, but he stays back.
The tree is known locally as the Siġra Li Titkellem, or the Talking Tree, as people believe that the tree listens to all the conversations that people have under it for decades, and finally speaks on the Day of Judgement. There, he is greeted by people of his and older ages, and they sit down to discuss about the upcoming elections. They talk for almost an hour about how the Conservatives, the dominant party in the region, can win in the elections, and around seven o'clock, as the sun has almost set, they call it a day, and disperse to their homes.
By the time Mithon reached home, the kids were having their dinner: It was some delicious fried shrimp, which was caught in the Rhone early that morning, and purchased by Mithon earlier in the day at the market. The kids were eating it with glee, and Mithon joined them. After the kids had eaten and went outside into the front yard, Asherah joined Mithon and his dinner, and they had a lovely dinner, as Mithon spoke of the things they talked about at the Talking Tree.
Later, Mithon and Asherah joined their grandchildren outside, and started to stargaze along with them. As he looked at the heavens above, he thanked God for the beautiful life and family that he had given to him, and for all the wealth and prosperity that came along with it. He looked at the awe-struck eyes and glee of the children, seeing the cosmos with clarity not possible in the cities they live due to light pollution. Soon, they went to bed, praying to God that the next day, too, is happy as this one.