Historical setting: 589 C.E. Bertigan’s Estate near Tours
Tonight we are guests of the Count’s where the people are my own family. Here, my son Ezra is now the elder patriarch. Everyone calls him “Papa” and they help him from the chair. When he speaks they listen. When they speak I wonder if he even hears them. He sits in a soft chair with a view of the whole hall and he finds pleasure in watching the children at their games. It’s my family, but by my odd circumstance of life and life again my son is the patriarch.
If I told this to someone just arriving, like Colleen, I might explain that in the year 543 my family was taken by plague, except Ezra and Eve who were discovered as abandoned orphans. They were taken to a pagan practitioner of healing. When they regained their health, Ezra was adopted out to learn the vintner’s trade. He returned to our abandoned farm and planted it in vineyards.
All those years ago Ezra married a Christian woman, Colletta, and they had children; the two who are still living are Daniel and Celeste. Celeste married Count Bertigan. Daniel is his secretary and recently married. Daniel and his wife have a small child I am told.
When Eve was an orphaned child she learned the art of healing. Eve recovered from the pox but lost her sight. Ezra provided her a cottage on our family land where she had gardens of herbs and was a known practitioner of healing. She always had the help of child apprentices. Ana was an apprentice to Eve. And before Ana, the guide for Eve’s blindness was Thole. His father Jesse is the Count’s stable master here. As is well known now, Thole chose to follow the Pagans because they listen for individual ancestral spirits and Thole grieves for his own mother and for Eve who was like a mother for him. He feels their closeness in being with the pagans.
For the newly born into a nature of changing seasons this ever-new of life must seem amazing. Or not. Does finding who we are require the long look of generations to find ourselves in time? And in not knowing our histories are we all just floundering strangers in the guest rooms of pompous little counts in a foreign land as Colleen must see all of this. She longs for community.
Dear God, Thank you. I’ve noticed all these ways you bring us into belonging to one another. Amen.