Historical setting: Inside a daub and wattle sepulcher — 584 C.E.
This is my son Ezra; now he is crouching in this small place next to me. I feel his spirit with me. Maybe he is lifting a candle. I feel the warmth of a pale light. He touches my hand with his own hand.
“Papa, can you hear?” Yes! This is Ezra, he calls me “Papa” so surely the woman I heard was my granddaughter Celeste, a grown woman now.
Ezra speaks to me, “Have you a mind and a soul and a life after all these years of waiting in death?”
I can’t answer.
“Let me loose the rags that wrap your hand so I will know if your life warmth has returned.”
My fingers are freed.
“I’ll send Daniel for the monk who is waiting for you, Papa.”
Ezra has never been much for talk so it is a shear blessing that he speaks to me now, though, I suppose he doesn’t expect that I can hear him. And I do have feeling and touch in my hand. He touches my hand with his. His hand feels dry and gnarled with age and hard work. Now he’s gone, and I’m alone again.
I think of the day we went out to prune his grapevines and I was ready to burn all the old wood particularly the dry and gnarly vines seeming to be spent. Had he not stopped me it would’ve been a terrible destruction. These old stumps he told me, are the root that feed the new vines, not to be mistaken for the useless debris of last year’s harvest that we do mean to burn.
Dear God, thank you for sending me a son who values keeping the ancient root around, anyway. Amen.
If I could speak or move or even imagine that I had a being I would answer him, but he hears nothing from me, and now he is gone.
Who is the monk who is waiting for me? It would be someone who would know my secret of life and life again. Only my family who is here knows of this, and of course my elder patron, retired soldier. My hope is that it could be Nic, maybe now a monk as he had hoped he could be. And surely he must be very old in this new time, a generation now passed.
(Continues Tuesday, April 13)