Historical setting: 588 C.E. Ligugè
Ezra is bringing me up-to-date on all the news from the vineyards.
He goes on, “Eve adores that gift Anatase gave her that you helped in lettering when you first came here. Eve keeps her ‘precious pages’ next to the door and rubs her hands over the herbs often to ‘see’ through touch and smell what you and the apprentice wanted her to enjoy always. In the spring and fall seasons Eve and the young woman now, replace the dried leaves with the soft, fresh herbs so they never loose the fragrances and textures.”
“Daniel was at the cooper near the forest and found that the druid priest was asking about Anatase because their village is in need of her now. But Daniel simply said she hasn’t completed her apprenticeship yet. It seemed to suffice.”
I comment, “Eve and Anatase surely must need one another, now, more than ever in these times of transition. I’m glad to know the child wasn’t returned to that tribe as Eve had feared.”
“Child? She is nearly a woman now; she seems older and wiser than any ancient magi. A lot has changed. Maybe, if this place is too dull for you just come back up our way.”
“I’ve been thinking when the garden is under for the winter I may just spend the season up there. It’s good to hear about it.”
I help Ezra harness the mules as he is on his way.
Dear God, thank you for this good news of my family. Amen. He could have sent someone else with the wine, and saved himself this journey. He must have known I was thinking of them.
Fewer of us are here and the elders who remain were once, like Brother August, lone aesthetics following visions of youth. Now this particular Christian community is aging and dwindling but here value and purpose aren’t measured by earthly tallies of numbers and wealth. The ancient tradition of spiritual peace gives these monks a kind of freedom from standards of worldly success which seem ever-creeping into the well-funded monasteries in these times. This distinction shows up in little ways like tipping one’s head to the most learned bishop or powerful pope, or scoring the most donors or greatest number of monks and nuns, or announcing the most miracles bestowed onto pilgrims. But here I still find that mystical peace free from the strivings and winnings.
(Continues Tuesday, October 12, 2021)