Historical setting: 589 C.E. Châlons to Luxeuil
I know of three ways to plunge ill-prepared into a journey on the wilderness edge of winter: brut ignorance and suffering strength; clever schemes using sparse resources; or we could simply trust the grace of God. Based on my long years of forever I suggest we first rely on the grace of God. God will undoubtedly assign us to care for one another and that will utilize all of our other resources. So we begin.
The four monks offer ceaseless prayers with calls quoting Psalms and responses that seem to come as grunts and snores from the barbarian hoard with the mules.
I suggest we place that book of Psalms in the donkey cart. Then the waxed cloth over the monks’ hand-cart can be spread on the ground under the wagon so these men can all crowd together finding warmth for sleeping. We hang the buckskin down the windward edge of the wagon for extra shelter underneath. No one argues. There seems no better option.
Does useful suggestion make me the leader? Maybe.
I proclaim, “Tomorrow we will leave the creek path and go in search of supplies for the trade of these tools and chains that weigh the wagon down. Surely replacements of this can be found when they are needed. I know the iron merchant visits the Vosges often.”
Assuming I am the leader whatever I suggest is simply accepted just because I say it. Of course in my mind my logical plan is to head straight across the fields to find people to trade our tools for food and shelter. And of course when everyone just accepts my plan without question there can be no other idea considered. Ana has suggested we follow the creek to find a crossroad that will lead to people, but our plan is my way.
Sleep is good and now on this new morning we set out to find the farmers of these fields by driving the mules and the wagon straight across the barren field. We turn the mules and the wagon off the creek path and up the embankment onto the fresh turned earth. But the field isn’t frozen and immediately we are deep in the mud and the mules only sink down with every step. How can everyone just do whatever I say, even when it’s obviously an ignorant plan? Only Ana had argued. She said we should follow the creek until we met with a roadway. Yet the men all listened to me.