Historical setting: 589 C.E. In the Vosges Mountains
Note to followers: This May chapter is NOT intended for children.
My mind is still on the list for making this a farm: a roof and a donkey and a shed and maybe some goats and hens. All the years that I’ve lived with little I’ve never really started a life with nothing but a seed and a blade.
Today our work is in the inks. Ana was assigned more pages for copying rules to post for the pilgrims. But here conversation blunders the holy quiet of a scriptorium.
Ana says, “Probably other women who have families aren’t under the spell of fear as I — or maybe some are. I don’t know if this is mine alone or if it is a shared terror.”
“What are you afraid of Ana?”
“I’ve fallen under a fear of men — men, created and loved by God in the same way as I. Yet I’m afraid in the way one who believes in pagan magic under an evil spell.”
“You are one of the strongest and most courageous people I know. How can you be cast into isolation by a fear—made a prisoner here. Is this about your wonders of beauty and wisdom?”
“So you think so too, that I‘m irrational and over impressed with my own attractiveness so that I assume every man is groping after my breasts. Now I’ve said it!”
What can I say?
She goes on, “At least you have the good manners to look up from your work and listen to me. But maybe when you mention beauty you are also thinking it would be a great kindness to plant your so-called peach pit in the furrows of my fertile field then suddenly I will know sex is a true metaphor for holy love and my all my fears will suddenly be vanquished!”
“Ana, how can I offer my human compassion broadly enough to understand what it would be like to be a woman who was brutally raped by pirates?” I can only plead ignorance.
“I’m sorry for my outburst Laz, surely it’s a sin against Creation to assume all men are rapists. Do you suppose procreation got twisted into the ‘original sin’ by some terrified woman who had been raped?”
“It was actually the early church ‘fathers’ who claim to have invented that sin. But maybe they knew…” [Footnote] I know she isn’t asking me to tell her the history of Christian doctrine.
[Footnote] Original sin? It was Origin, declared a heretic for a similar reason, then Augustine wrote it using his amazing way with words and it became indelible. It isn’t a Jesus teaching.