Historical setting: 564 C.E. Building site in Bordeaux
Nic and I are looking for sleeping quarters in Bordeaux for the two monks and for ourselves, and we’ve stopped to ask at the thatched house near the construction of the basilica that August told us would be his family’s home. The woman of this house, who must surely be August’s mother, suggests a stable with a sleeping loft only a short distance away. She graciously offers that we may share the sleeping quarters of her sons if the stable owner doesn’t oblige.
So now we find the stable is accommodating for our horses and ox, and Nic and I can sleep in the loft. And what’s more, the stable owner is happy to meet all of our needs because Nic has paid him well. He even has another little house of thatch where the two monks can stay, since Brother Joel cannot climb the ladder into the stable loft at this stage in his healing.
We return to our wilderness camp with this place procured. I told August of the helpful woman in the house adjacent to the construction, and he found delight in learning she was still wearing a tattered green tunic with a cincture and apron, but her hair has silvered. As much as he claims to be rid of family, I think August looks forward to seeing them again.
We start on the short jaunt to Bordeaux at first morning light because ox-speed turns it into a day’s journey. We arrive late in the afternoon. Brothers August and Joel settle in at the little thatched guesthouse, while Nic and I tend to the animals. The cart with the sculpture of stone is parked outside the stable in view of the construction project and it attracts the attention of two of the workers as they are wrapping up their day’s project. We are in the loft of the stables and can hear them talking about the artwork.
“Lifelike, yes. But why would the artisan choose to set in stone the life of a poor woman with an infant? A true artist could have made it anything, so why a poor woman? An emperor or a god would at least have better symmetry.”
“Worry not, my brother, it’s only sandstone so it won’t last.”
“I wonder if the two monks we saw bring it here intend to add it to our work on the basilica?”
“Do you know what this makes me think of?” One of the brothers asks the other.
(Continues Tuesday, March 9)