#39.3, Weds., Dec. 7, 2022

Historical setting: 589 C.E. a cottage between Annegray and Luxeuil

         The skies threaten a winter storm so the Luxeuil workers who travel the creek path with the mules come up here now to find shelter for the mules. Here our stable is a perfect place for… well, not just for hiding the lust of monks, but for sheltering mules and, of course, a donkey and a cow, keeping all these critters safe from the fierce winds that ravage this hilltop. With no pasture walls stacked yet the animals have to be tethered or hobbled to feed on the stubby winter grasses of seasonal pastures. Wolves would find them easy prey. Inside the stable the hay and oats served in this manger will just have to stretch.

         The workers take one of our birds so I can receive their orders to deliver the mules after the storm.  Ana worries these barbarians won’t keep her little pigeon safe.  She reminds them not to release it into the storm and she sends along extra suet and wraps the bird box in the wools she’s been winding.

         She’s already spun a few skeins of yarns fine enough for weaving. But having no loom, and assigned to this bed, she couldn’t weave if we did have a loom because weaving involves walking the shuttle back and forth. If Ana isn’t allowed to walk to the hearth for her meals surely she can’t tend a loom. So it is that Colleen, while she was once waiting for a birth at a wealthy home, learned of a way of knotting a single thread of wool into a piece of fabric.  It is a way to make small clothing pieces like a little bunting or a sock.  Colleen demonstrates this craft that is very much like the ancient work of mending of fishnets, only infinitesimally smaller knots. Ana can use her fingers and the wool yarns to make little hats and blankets for the baby.

         Colleen instructs, more like “orders” me to get on with the work of making a cradle. And now I can show her the secret gift I’ve been working on all along. I’ve been carving a fine two-foot section of a fallen ash log into a sweet little cradle with foot stops to keep it from toppling when rocked. I’ve done this before.  I know this cradle is well made, won’t roll over with the baby and it can serve until the baby is climbing and creeping.

(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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