#38.13, Tues., Nov. 29, 2022

Historical setting: 589 C.E. Cottage in the Vosges

         Brother Servant finds Colleen’s porridge delicious. But Ana suggests I do the cooking if Colleen doesn’t allow her out of bed to do it herself. I’m fine with that. Let’s let Ana rest. I think we can spare a turnip from the heap of roots, and Ana requests some. Oh, yes, and we still have the sacks of rooted herbs out in the cart. No one has to eat boring porridge.

         “So how is it that the cottage wasn’t used for the guests of Annegray?” I ask Brother Servant.

           “Guests and beasts alike made good use of the stable, which allowed us to keep the cottage clean and tidy for your return.”

         “Clean and tidy, you say it were?” Colleen asks with her way of blunt honesty.

         Brother Servant defends. “It is clean and tidy, except for the abundant harvest of natural things, leavings from the critters, and soil left by the rain.”

         I mean to bend Colleen’s accusation. “The whole farm is all such a wonderful surprise for us Brother Servant.  Thank you so much for taking care of it all, and especially for all the fine work on the stable!”

         Colleen nods her solicited approval. I think she’s really trying to understand that it is a different standard of clean and tidy among monks in a wilderness than a midwife would find encountering a well- maintained villa.

         I step outside with Brother Servant as he is leaving and we catch sight of a rampage of antlered bucks racing across the meadow. It would be a good time to hunt one, as the wolves also calculate opportunity in this season of the running of the deer. Tonight I will fletch an arrow or two, and we will soon have meat in our winter stews and no more talk about barely and turnips.

         Outside, here, I find that sack of herbs is still in the cart.  It’s damp so maybe the roots are still good for planting. In fact these sacks are dripping with gray water and clumps of clay. Maybe I only brought this filthy bag into the house to tease the tidy Colleen. My centuries haven’t let me go of my nature as a once pesky little brother. But it is true, we also need to make a plan to plant the herbs before the hard freeze of winter.

         Dear God may I be considerate of others with different tidiness standards.

(Continues Tomorrow)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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