Historical setting: 589 C.E. Ana’s cottage in the Vosges Mts.
Some things were kept covered and dry — the starter for the flame — the seed for the birds. The rainwater on the floor inside is whisked out the door. The rainwater in the cooking cauldron, the feed trough and the pail will save us a trek to the creek. And I’ve emptied the wet heaps of straw from the mattress ticking, and spread the linens out to dry in the sun. Ana is spreading damp firewood out to catch sun on the hearthstone.
This is the good day to start building a roof.
Back here behind our cottage in a place we’ve never gone is some brush I can cut for thatching. But now, here I find a circle of stones as though people were once marking a well. After the rain it is filled with water and slimy overgrowth, so I start pulling roots from it and now realize it is indeed a well, and it is fed by a mountain spring. In fact, this was probably why the cottage was first built here. How fortunate we are to have a clean water source so near the cottage. I cut through the brush heaping saplings in one place, thatching in another, and wilted fibers to strip bare for weaving and winding rope in another place.
By this day’s end we have a well, and a ladder I’ve lashed together and supplies for a roof.
Thank you God, for the sun and the rain and the spring of water, for the grasses and the trees, for all that grows; for the creatures that share in the blessings; for enough; for warmth and breeze, for good health and dreams and particularly, thank you God for Ana. Maybe the state of being in love illuminates everything mundane with a blissful golden haze.
And so it is four days now that the linens have been folded on the guest bed. It is four nights we’ve slept in one another’s warmth with her trust and my patience moving ever so slowly toward convergence. I’ve heard Ana’s hints that the pirate’s curse on her is crumbling away allowing her to have dreams again. And we watch through the new rafters as a wild bird is flitting from her mate, until he stops her and they are a pair stealing straws from our heap of grasses to make a new nest.