He woke up in the morning and the first thing he did was get out of the hut and talk to the tree: God, I'm here!
He was simple, a country man who lived not so near Aracu in Goias. With his colt, which he called Dengoso, it took almost two hours to reach the sale of Seu Ze, in this small town. Chico Zebedeu had always been a catingueiro of the place, since the times of José Jacinto da Silva, his great-grandfather's patron, a century ago and a colonel who was well-known by everyone in the region. Chico did not even know the date of his birth, but he celebrated it every day as if it were a butterfly's birthday, and there were many of them at the time of the mangabeira flower, which always began shortly before the celebration of Our Lady of Aparecida. The curious thing is that the old plant, with tortuous trunk, never stopped giving fruit. And the lemon-sized mangoes, with their yellow peel and sprinkled with rosy tones, served to make a compote that only Dona Eleuthera knew the recipe. Very good thing, to eat on the quiet afternoons of any Saturday, according to Chico.
But his esteem for this white-flowered wood was different, it was more than affection, one could say that he felt a certain devotion, using it to communicate with a God that he himself could not explain anything about he and, perhaps for that reason, his prayer was short and simple, saying aloud: God, I am here! He looked at the tree as if it were an altar, and instead of asking for something, he always repeated that phrase in the dawns of every day, as if he wanted to place himself at the orders of the Supreme. Sometimes, it is not known why, his eyes were wet, his straw hat tightened by his straw hat as he repeated this kind of caboclo mantra. The very white flowers, forming a five-petaled star, had perhaps in their imagination the liturgical significance of the total surrender of a simple man who, though he had never learned to pray, knelt on the earthen floor as if it were a knee-deep genuflex, and wet his face with the lame man's water, such as a baptismal font.
Whoever knew Chico, who really understood his inner self, would understand that the morning prayer was not meant to ask anything for himself, it was to offer something unconscious, this whole working day with his hoe, as if it were an offering of praise and of gratitude, to that sacred tree that symbolized his God. The only God that Chico knew and who blessed him all the dawns, with its white flowers and its creamy flesh fruits.
Author: Raul Cânovas