Historical setting: 589 C.E. An island in a river
Ana says she will be glad to spend these soft summer nights camping by the river washed in the beauty of earth. The river invites these mythical meanders in our imaginations. And we are under the the waxing moon that rises in the afternoon and sets Ana into what she calls, the rigors of woman. I happen to think the whining of it is the rigors of man. I have no experience as a base for my empathy. I’m not sure if it is just grief in knowing there is no baby growing toward birth this month or if it is a physical hurt. But we do take a slower pace these few days. And we make our camp on one of the secluded wooded islands between the river and the shallow fresh water creeks tatting the plain of this valley.
So here we are, like first man and first woman, basking naked in the warm sun of this place; we are like the people of an Eden but here we are in the middle of a real world. The horses dine on oats and beautiful grasses. They dip into the water, refreshed, as we are also. These waters are rich with écrevisses, as good as any lobster from the sea. Add to that the gathering of fresh berries, and our own loaves of barelybread, and we could never think of our necessary tasks again.
Now the moon has waxed to gibbous rising in the daylight, and setting softly brushed in the summer breeze. The last thing Ana said tonight with words were, “let’s just stay here for ever and ever.” The good things said with no words fill the whole of this night. Thank you God.
In the morning we will cross the river and go on our way back to our appointed tasks.
Our clothes are clean in the cold creek and fresh in the sun, and the horses are rested and fed. We are ready for the rocky ruins, the mud paths, and arguing bishops of the tangible world as we cross over the river toward Châlons.
We find an inn this night, and here there is a dining board where they serve ale. Two shepherds imbibe, preparing to go off to the pastures tomorrow with the new lambs of last spring, old enough now to join the flocks for their first taste of summer grasses. We try to seem interested then Ana asks them what may seem a prying question.