Historical setting: 602 C.E. Cottage in the Vosges
Always changing, always new is the constant of a farm. Thole brought us a mule the summer after the twins were born, the foal of Ana’s Teardrop and Colleen’s donkey, Jack. With a mule for the hard work of it and a cow for the milk and cheese, and the tiny little donkey taking us where we want to go in a little cart we’ve always been able to keep the farm and its people and critters strong and fed. What else is there to say about a good life, but thank you, Dear God.
Ana is still straight and strong and wise though by now her childish ways have turned to ageless grace.
Strange as it may seem to have two sets of twins, after Gabe and Greg another pair was born. That was a difficult birthing and Ana blames herself for not taking the same care with these twins that Colleen had required for her with the first twins. But how could she spend all those weeks sitting in bed spinning yarn while we had two toddlers to keep watch over? I alone couldn’t do everything for the two babies and for the farm chores as well. So maybe it was my fault more than hers that she couldn’t take the rest that was needed.
We named that twin who lived after my father, Simon*. The other child named Samuel, is buried with a raw stone for a marker in the beautiful place behind the well where only flowers may grow. Ana chooses to hide her grief from the children. But we still grieve for him. It was two years before we dared take a chance on setting another child into life. Then, after the boys, a girl was born to us. I thought she was a baby Ana. She was blue-eyed and fair — always aware of faces — early with words. She was always naming things and searching out reasons. But Ana chose her name despite my wishes. So we know she is Hannah – Hannah beautiful and wise. Ana nurtured that little Hannah baby thinking always of how long she waited for the girl child and how often she sang Hannah’s song for justice. [I Samuel 2]
We often take our laments and our grieving, along with so much gratitude to the altars of the little secular church in the woods.
*A note to followers — Simon’s story is also a novella which mirrors the April through July blog posts this year. This blogger hopes to make that available, either in an e-book format or as a pdf to be a free gift to followers of this blog. (More info. to come in April.)
(Continues Tuesday, March 7)