Historical setting: 589 C.E. Poitiers
Dear God let us feel your presence. And stay close to Ana. Amen.
This afternoon I return to the work of helping Brother August and his apprentice. With three of us working, we have revealed the shoulders of the mother and the head of the infant is now emerging from the stone. Shall we set this child gazing at his mother, or does his face look out at the whole world of other human faces?
“The infant eyes seek only purity and love of a mother.” Brother August listens to his apprentice’s input. And they decide on a tender Jesus, seeing only his mother while the rest of humankind may be mired in all these loveless sins of our own making, carving Jesus to be a mini-king, not a human savior.
It’s that very brief sliver of darkness a monastery allows for sleep between evening prayers and the dark waking for morning prayers when those of us in the guest room by the stable are awakened by a fast horse arriving in the night. I look out on the courtyard, and there is Ana and another woman both on Teardrop. Ana sees me now, looking from the window and she gestures for me to come quickly.
Her horse needs to be walked. So the young woman with her, Colleen, waits for us in the stable while Ana and I walk and she tells me of the danger they are in.
“There was no waiting for morning, Laz.
“Colleen and I were called to the Lady’s chamber but were told Lady Elise had died, yet if we came quickly enough we would be able to deliver the baby. We went, and it was just as the journal had described. The mother was wrapped tight around the head and shoulders in a linen sheet that was spotted with blood. Colleen went to work immediately making her careful cut just as we had prepared, though I noticed their was more blood than I thought from a corpse. I didn’t mention that because I didn’t want to make Colleen feel she was doing anything wrong. Meanwhile, the earl was standing by wailing and crying, sobbing convulsively but with no tears. It was a disturbing distraction. At first I brought him a basin, thinking he was puking, but then I realized he is really only trying to pretend he is in shock. I lifted the sheet from the face of the dead woman and saw she had been beaten badly.”
(Continues Tuesday, September 27, 2022)