Historical setting: 589 C.E. when Brittany was forest
Now I understand. I’m not really here to help with the hunt while these two men guide me on a comfortably furnished journey to find the Christians in the wilderness. The only thing that concerns them is the continuation of their own tribe. Guldilyn mentioned the insatiable appetite for personal power that drives men. And she did say this was about men. I listened to her then as though she was a woman and of secondary power; so for her, I thought, the lust for power was a gender thing. But that was not what she was saying. Now I know I should have been alert to what her words really meant. It is not about empowering one man, but about the survival of the tribe.
Like a wounded animal with priority on survival, there is nothing a tribe won’t do to assure its continuation. Individual wants and needs are irrelevant. The tribe (or political party like the Sadducees or the Pharisees, or a national autocracy, like Rome) is more valued than any individual life. That’s how wars are made. Half truths, lies, trickery, and particularly ravaging the enemy would, of course be expected in the face of a threat from another tribe; but when the threat is from within, from its own shrinking numbers, it becomes simply a matter of finding more distant men or maidens for procreation. Of course this makes sense.
I can see why Thole with his fiery soft hair would be preferable, and two of us more valuable than one. But I really don’t know what to do with this epiphany. I start back toward the caves, though my most pressing need right now is for a prayer in solitude. I climb the rocks by the river coated in ice along side the winter torrents cascading into falls. And there, before me, thank you God, is a third cave, tucked back into the rock. It’s solitude and maybe even shelter — a place for a day’s end rest as the shadows of night overtake all the sky darkening now, even the opening in the tree tops where the river below breaks through the wood. Here is fresh water and shelter just large enough for one man with a fleece. I needn’t return until I have the spiritual clarity to know what to do.
Dear God, thank you for this time and shelter, please guide my choices in your way of warless compassion. I await your guidance. Amen.
(Continues Tuesday, January 25, 2022)