Historical setting: 589 C.E. the road home
Months ago, Ana and I had journeyed so long on horseback following a different route to deliver messages to the Bishops of Austrasia. Now we have a more direct path and it seems we are already starting the climb into distant mountains.
The infant in Ana’s womb is demanding smoother roads and more stops for rest. Ana chooses to walk much of the time, though I keep suggesting she might prefer to ride in the covered cart lying on the warm fleeces. It seems she doesn’t find that comfortable. Colleen tells me I shouldn’t try to tell her how to be comfortable because I don’t know. We set this slow pace for everyone with a cow and a pregnant woman leading. Dear God, stay close.
Despite our slow pace, the mountains that fringe the horizon now impose a larger shadow each morning we travel east, and now the path is steeper and the creek beds cut deeper. When we ask directions to Annegray the peasants here have heard of it and it seems everyone we ask points the same direction.
It’s steadily snowing as we reach the ancient guard tower and these fallen walls of Annegray. We are in time to join in vespers. Ana’s woolen monk’s robe won’t reach around her belly anymore. So we are keeping no secret here, where some months ago the Father struggled to bless our union as a marriage because we likely would have no children.
I’m assigned a guest room with the barbarians rather than the covered guest room where Ana and Colleen may stay. I’m glad Ana has Colleen with her now.
By the dark hour of matins its just the four monks and I from our party who join with these brothers for the chanting of the Psalms. Even before sunrise, the monks with us delivered the gifts from King Guntrum to Father Columbanus.
“So the king would have us take this whole community we have started here into another old place?” The father noted.
“It’s thought to be a Roman remnant in better condition and more appropriate for a community.” Answered the monk speaking for King Guntram.
“I know it well. I’ve been there for my own prayers. And while I’ve prayed for guidance expecting God to send me into a deeper wilderness, now it is the opposite of that. How will we ever find our solace there?”
“We assure him we’ve brought tools.”