Historical setting: 589 C.E. The path to the cottage in the Vosges
It wasn’t exactly the ritual we were seeking, but now I do have a clearer understanding of Ana’s hopes and dreams. I share the hope in the possibility that we could one day have children. It seems so common, but it is also such a shimmering dare.
With or without a proper blessing, I continue the project of thatching the uncovered part of the cottage and we share these beautiful nights lying under the older roof of this cottage.
On this new day the first crop of the garden is ready; today it is the chard. A bird arrives this morning summonsing me alone, to the monastery so Ana stays to fetch the water and boil the chard for supper when I return.
At Annegray I’m told someone has arrived from a pagan tribe on the Loire, and he is asking for “Anatase.” Now here it is Thole, come on horseback all this way from the village on the Loire where he still lives with the tribe who follows Druid Largin.
“Ezra? I had heard from some hunters you were killed in an accident hunting.“
“And Thole you know my oddity with death. And here you are also, looking surprisingly well, and you have a horse, I see!”
“It’s borrowed from the count’s stable so I rode here after the rumor that Anatase is living among these Christians.”
“I thought you and your little bride would satisfy the pagan need to continue the lineage. Are they still asking for the return of the borrowed child, Anatase, after all these years?”
“Well, yes, but my father-in-law, Largin, has accepted that Tilp and I may keep the lineage.”
I mean to change the subject, “Do you ever see your father, Jesse, anymore?”
“Yes. We’ve made amends. The widow of Saumur left him. She quickly learned he was married to his grief. It’s a very sad house he’s made for himself there.”
“I think Eve knew that too. She said Jesse always thought his sorrows would vanish if he could marry again. The utility of a woman comes and goes but grief is never replaced with new.”
Thole knows a lot about grief. He finds comfort in pagan ways of knowing ancestors. Maybe that is the comfort that Christians find in saints. I, myself, find it in the shared Spirit of love — thank you God for staying close.