Friday, June 13, 2008
He talks about being from Spain, and having a Muslim father. Apparently he lived in New York for a while, before taking temporary residence in Montreal. I am not sure of the timeline. By the look of him, he must be in his mid to late thirties. He wears a doo-rag underneath a baseball cap that he does not take off even when he sleeps. He smokes two packs of cigarettes a day, and plants more trees than anyone I have ever seen.
Yossef is slight and muscular. He stands around six feet tall and has a 28 inch waist. He eats almost nothing but almonds and fruit. His limbs account for the larger portion of his physique. Spindly, you could call him, and slightly stooping, he moves quickly and has wide set eyes which give him a reptilian presence, like a gecko.
My first day planting with Yossef he put in twice as many trees as me. I was baffled at how such a feat could be even possible, and quickly began peppering him with questions relating to his technique and diet.
He speaks French, Spanish and slangish english in a quiet raspy voice. He refers to Tim Hortons as "Timmy Timmy," and smoking pot as "stone time." His favortie singular phrase is "unbelievable," which he uses to express exasperation, as in 'Can you believe this shit?' Out of his mouth it sounds like UM BA LEE BO.
His smile is full of cunning, which must account for some of his success. He works his land in ways that confound other planters and checkers alike, guaranteeing that people will most often stay out of his land. This can be interpreted as eccentricity, but is more likely a calculated strategy to throw everyone off.
Yossef is becoming like a planting mentor to me. He is the best I have ever seen, and likely one of the best that there is.