Historical setting: 589 C.E. In the Vosges Mountains
“This is the day that the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” [Psalm 118:24]
I thought I’d send that on the leg of a bird. But on this new day I can say it to her. She’s here. I’m here. We are sipping tea at the hearthside under no roof. No roof could contain the width and breadth of our hopes.
We’ve been clearing away brush, moving rocks, turning earth for the garden and we share the weariness of starting all things new.
Ana’s physician’s fingers have rubbed the work ache from my shoulders, but my thoughts are not all that utilitarian in appreciating this kindness. I imagine touching her, and I imagine her touches in return for mine.
Yesterday we hauled a heap of thatching and logs up the long hill from the creek. I intend to set to work making some nesting boxes and a new perch where birds can land along the high shelf of this room with only sky.
I surmise, “If we had a donkey we could more easily haul supplies and water from the creek up the hill, but if we had a donkey we would need an animal shed, but to build a shed we would need to haul supplies up the hill.” My big plans for starting everything new seems an endless circle of things to do first.
And Ana already has a plan. “It’s the season for planting right now and we need to plant a field for grain.”
I contend, “We need seeds and tools, and a wall to keep out the wildlife. We will need lots of things before we can plant a field.”
“Come. I’ll show you.” She goes ahead of me, down, over the edge of the hillside passed the garden we’ve started, and I see that while she was alone here she’s already marked off a field and stacked rocks to be the wall. And while I was heaping up the thatching she has already pulled loose the grasses in by the wall and planted two rows already. She is only using the little child’s sickle to do the work while I’m sitting by the fire listing the tools we will need.
She explains, “They’ve brought me seed for beans and barely from the monastery and if we plant right away we’ll have food this winter when we have to stay inside, then we can build better tools for next year.”
“Yes, I can see she knows the priorities.”