Historical setting: 589 C.E. The Monastery at Annegray
Ana and I have been called before Father Columbanus for some kind of accounting. On our walk we are both thinking up possible reasons he’s called for us. Ana suspects someone has a medical need and I wonder if he wants to assign me to stay there and help with the construction of a scriptorium. I can see he would need my help in making the old fortress ruin into a suitable shelter with windows to allow light for the work in the inks. It’s obvious that Annegray will be better suited to compete with the Roman monasteries already producing manuscripts if these monks can establish a practice of copying scriptures.
But really, we both expect he just wants some kind of accounting. They endured the storm as we did. And the cottage by the well is part of the ruin he was granted by Guntram, the king. It is the father’s responsibility to care for the properties.
Arriving the servant monk greets us, and takes the bird we’ve brought so that the messaging to and from the cottage can continue. As I supposed, the father first wants to speak to Ana alone and she is told she doesn’t need to take her medical kit. I wait on a wooden bench. The servant monk paces before me without speaking, as though I am still, in his mind, a captured pirate awaiting interrogation. When it is my turn to meet with the father Ana sits on the bench and the monk seems much more at ease.
The father tells me he has spoken with Ana and he asked her about my continuing presence at her cottage. He seems to be expecting me to wonder what she might have answered when she was asked. I don’t have to guess.
“We share a dream.” I answer.
He smiles and sits back in his chair, touching the tips of his fingers together leaving the space of his hands opened for thought but not at all closed together in as in prayer. He seems to be waiting for me to say more. So I offer an accounting of the cottage.
“We found a well, back in the underbrush. It is spring fed and very accessible to the cottage. I’ve been adding a thatched roof to the opened room. We have a garden started, and a field plowed ready for grain.”
“Ana also said you both share a dream, but wasn’t specific. Just exactly what did she mean by that?”
(Continues Tuesday, June 14, 2022)