The surge of a storm is flexing the trees tonight. Chad doesn’t want to sleep now. He wants to see the thunder. Hail often takes the throne as winter arrives in the valley. Chad likes to read a poem to himself in the middle of the night sometimes. He turns on the lamp in an otherwise dark room. He lives here alone. The thunder is banging the glass windows of his house now. The wind is colliding with the walls to make them sing a moaning song. When it’ll stop, there will be calmness again to remind that nothing is permanent. The storm always exits with a whisper. Then there is silence, which makes realize an impermanent loss. Chad is reading William Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus’. He reads his favourite line - “Under the bludgeonings of chance / My head is bloody, but unbowed”.
This winter is going to be crucial for Chad’s farm. As the season changes, crop rotation must be done. He needs to make new farming strategies. Chad’s farming tribe is the talk of the valley nowadays. Chad is a DeFi farmer. He started a small farming tribe some months back. Since then, it grew leaps and bounds. Farming became very profitable in the last few years due to the high demand for crops in the valley but King Samson persuaded the farmers to plant the crops chosen by him. The king provided loans at a very high-interest rate. Once a farmer used to take a loan, he remained in debt lifelong. The king used to pay a meagre price for the crops. The variation from the market price was abnormally high. The farmers couldn’t make any profit growing crops. Then there was a revolt. Chad led that and made a deferred dream possible. The rebellion started from a small village and expanded all over the valley. All centralized farming depots were burned down. Although King Samson tried to suppress the rebellious farmers ruthlessly with help of his forces, the rebels rose to take control of the villages, markets and the streets. “We want this regime to fall for growing our food crops and make bread for all” – they shouted the slogan in unified clear cadence. History was written in the valley.
Chad looks at the sky. The stormy clouds are flying tatteredly and swiftly as if they want to make a new map of heaven. The mighty mansion of the stars isn’t visible now. Darker the sky, more it allows seeing. It’s neither too dark, nor too bright now. Is that a trail of a comet there? The lightning flashes in the sky, the thunder is crashing. The onslaught of raindrops gets started. It’ll go on, until the moon sinks. Chad time travels in his mind to go back to the day which changed the course of his life.
It was a sunny day on the eve of last winter. Chad climbed the nearest mountain peak after a long time. It was a retreating view from the top. Chad sat upon the granite rocks and watched an old shepherd to feed his flock besides a narrow fountain located in a distance. The valley and the fields were visible in the landscape. Some mountain birds were madrigaling beautifully.
“Do you know what they’re singing?” Someone murmured from the back.
Chad didn’t expect anybody in this solitary place. Oh! It’s that old Shepherd. How did he come here so fast?
“Oh, hi!… No, I really don’t know. But it is melodious.”
“None knows. These mountain birds sing complex songs ahead of their breeding season. Err…The song complexity is very important for their reproductive success. So, they practice and improvise…”
“…To get ready for the next breeding season?” Chad asked inquisitively before the shepherd finished his sentence.
“Exactly! They’re getting prepared for the next season.” The shepherd grins like the Cheshire Cat.
“What do you do?”
“I take care of my flock and grow crops but I give everything to the people of the valley.”
“You donate … donate everything? Are you very rich or money is too much for you?”
“Hmm, I really don’t know how much money is too much … so I give away. I don’t understand the value of crops too. People say water is essential for life but it has such a low value… and see... people buy shiny stones for million bucks. The issue of valuation in human preferences is a mystery. The value in use is different from the value in exchange. So, I’m still discovering value.”
“You talk like a philosopher,” Chad said in a surprising voice. He really didn’t expect a lecture on the valuation of crops and goods on this lonely peak of the mountain from a village shepherd. “Okay, then how to determine the price of the crop?”
“The price of a crop should reflect the value of sweat required to bring it to market.”
“Oh! That’s fine but it looks surreal to me. Such a thing never happens. A few people determine prices, they derive maximum yields and we peasants get peanuts.”
“Remove the middleman. You’ll see the true value in daylight.” The shepherd uttered in a firm voice.
Chad became abstracted for a moment. The singing birds had stopped to sing now. It was late afternoon already. The Shepherd had disappeared too. How could he move so fast?
Winter practice helps. Chad took that cue from the singing birds of the mountain. This winter he will practice growing different crops to get better seasonal yield. The learning curve of a full year will help him to understand things better next time. King Samson’s spies keep on disturbing his tribe. It’s also important to keep the swarms of locusts away from the crops. Chad has built a team to give locus warnings to the fellow farmers. A few swarms are active in some parts of the vast agricultural farmland. They devastated the crops of many farmers. Chad is worried. The recent rains and storms will enable unprecedented breeding. The tribe needs to be careful and vigilant. The swarms must be pushed south-west. Nowadays, Chad has started to work on the new constitution for his tribe. He wants to keep the power more decentralized. The people should have complete authority to choose their governing legislation. Chad plans to include some cornerstones in the farm democracy. Harvesting must be more inclusive. Yield must be optimum. Chad hates elitist rules, so he wants common people to decide rules. Rule of the people shouldn’t be blurred. No monarchy, no oligarchy and no tyranny! That was the reason for the revolution in the valley.
Chad lights up a handmade cigar. Someone gifted a big cigar box last month. This tobacco has a blend called 'Arcadia Mixture', which has flossy, white ash. Chad likes artisanal craftmanship of this cigar and keeps it in a metal case. The cigar smoke rolls into the sky. The rain stopped earlier. The storm has stopped after bending all woods. Now only tranquillity prevails. The constellation of the stars is visible now. Where is the old shepherd? Is he still discovering 'value' on the mountain peak? Chad has removed the middleman from the harvesting saga. The unnamed shepherd would be happy to know about Chad’s tribe. There is suffering in harvesting but otherwise, there’s no bread for all. Chad takes a deep breath. Deep hues of blue in the sky signal the end of the night.