HOW COULD A FARMER, descended from generations of farmers, speak so enthusiastically of the earth? Shortly after Marceli’s arrival in New York, my aunt, related to him through his wife, asked him to dinner, and it was then that I met him. When I had left him, years ago, in my native town, he had been a young boy, working with his two older brothers on his father’s small, excellently managed farm. I remember that in his time off he had assumed a sophisticated citified air, avoiding his family and acting ashamed of his connection with farm life. And now suddenly he was saying that all strength came from the earth, that the earth was our mother, that it breathed and lived.
Celinka, his wife, looked at him embarrassed, but on meeting my ironical glance, she said: “Sometimes he cries in his sleep, ‘The earth is alive, alive,’ as others might cry, ‘The house is on fire.’”
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