Historical setting: Sixth Century Bordeaux
Brother Joel and Brother August are in the guesthouse let to Nic by the stable master. And I know we will have to tell them Brother August’s family was asking about the artist who carves so perfectly in sandstone. Surely we can’t keep Brother August hidden from them, especially since he is anxious to see his parents again. Maybe I should go talk with August so that the revelation of finding one another will not become an unwelcome surprise.
Now I understand the Joseph story and that mysterious reason for hiding the precious cup in the grain bag of Benjamin as though Benjamin had stolen it. In that way the jealous brothers would come with humility bringing their father to the grain officer of Egypt still not realizing that royal assistant is Joseph who is preparing to surprise them with his reveal. In the bible story it makes such a happy reunion Joseph is said to have wept. But I fear we aren’t going to see any tears of joy in this reunion. [Genesis 44]
With the darkness, all the workers have left the site for the day and I know August must be anxious to go to his family. Of course I’m not so sure if he longs to see his brothers again. I know they don’t yearn for his return.
Nic is preparing our evening meal in the little guesthouse that has a fireplace with cooking pots and grates and all the luxuries of an indoor place in the wintertime. I ask August to come with me to the construction site so we can consider the work that is being done.
I explain my interest, “I was apprenticed in construction as a youth before I took up the work of scribe and Christian messenger. This subtle, limy whiff of fresh mortar nudges my recollections and I was thinking while we are here waiting for the healing of Brother Joel, I could make good use of myself walking a tread-wheel or chipping stone.”
“Yes, if my brothers have anything to say about hiring they will welcome more brawn.” August runs his hand along the wood supports for the crane’s tread-wheel. “Obviously they have no use for skill and precision. Even the carpentry is rough.”
My observation, “They probably thought it was temporary while the build is going on. You have to admit they have stacked a substantial stone wall here so far.”
“Is that the standard? ‘substantial’?” August asks, still critical of the workmanship.
(Continues Tuesday, March 16)