Historical setting: 589 C.E. The river crossing near Tours
In this little fringe of a wood I watch a vixen eluding me, giving up her own hiding so I won’t notice her kits.
It seems when I am in love the whole world is in love, and when my mind is only on keeping an infant safe, the whole world is a parent protecting family. I wish that were all I had to say of this contagion of spirit. But it is also true that fear makes the world look dangerous, and hate and hurt make the all of everything seem evil. I wonder if it is only an anticipation of things that could go wrong that makes us fear. And if we offer ourselves as the sufferers of hurt and pain can we overcome our fears of imagined losses? Is that why monks try so hard to feel hurt? Do all those suffering Christians use pain to take control of the possibility of hurt that is actually beyond their control? And now I wonder about that thing, the birthing pain. The woman I love and the child I have yet to meet must share the anticipation of that pain into life. Every living being enters into earthly life through a gateway of pain? So how is this holy plan for birthing a metaphor of Spirit?
Eve’s cottage is gone yet the herbs of the garden still wander wild on wayward roots. The women see them as random hidden treasures waiting for their harvest so now the bed of the cart is filled with straggly wet roots and bundles of herbs topped off with pillows and pillows of wormwood. All this wet fresh fragrance would probably overwhelm us, but for the wafting scents of the wet wools of monks robes.
On our way, by afternoon we reach the turn in the road toward Count Bertigan’s estate where Jesse still tends the count’s stables. Teardrop comes to the pasture gate to greet Ana, and Jesse comes out surprised to see we have acquired a cart, a donkey and another woman on my brief walk back to Poitiers. I was just here yesterday, and I told Jesse it would just be Ana and I who would come back this way on foot.
Jesse immediately takes notice that the donkey is a jack, and the little fellow already has his sights set on Ana’s dapple gray mare. He suggests we see what happens if we just let the donkey into the pasture with the mares.