Historical setting: 589 C.E. Poitiers
Ana and I have found a cozy quietude in the haymow of this villa stable. I asked her if Colleen, the midwife/servant-slave here is a good teacher.
“Teacher, no. She’s more like me as an eight-year-old than she is like my teacher. Lady Elise is due any day now, — a good reason for me to be here — so Colleen and I have been preparing the tools and going over the procedures. Colleen’s blade and needle were thoroughly rusted. We could use mine from my kit if we need to use a blade immediately, but I thought it best to teach her to clean her tools and polish them bright.
“Clean, clean clean, Eve always told me. Before every birth, or any kind of procedure in fact, I needed to prepare three wash basins with warm water and cleansing herbs for the prayers. With the first prayer wash hands and tools in the first basin as preparation and if we are in a Christian home, we say ‘Dear Father, guide us.’ When we know what we are going to do to help, we wash in the second bowl and we say ‘Dear Christ stay near us,’ and at the third bowl, when all is done that can be done, wash everything clean and ask the breath of Spirit to continue. Even though Colleen is Christian all the time, and Eve only when it was needed, Colleen had never heard of this Christian washing Trinity.
“Eve told me that even though it sounds superstitious it really seems to work for healing. Whenever she used the three cleansing prayers she saw faster healing and less infection.
“So there we were sanding and polishing Colleen’s tools by candlelight, deep into the darkness of last night. But now everything is ready.”
This afternoon Ana and Colleen plan to examine Lady Elise so Ana thinks she will have a better idea of when that birth might be, though she adds, it’s always in God’s time so no one really knows. I suggest Ana take a ride when she has time and we can see if the hay is as soft in the mow at Ligugè, as it is here. Hay always seems as fine as eiderdown when it is shared.
Thank you God, for Ana, for the hay, for the beasts beneath us, so patient and gentle. Thank you for more beauty than we can even speak when we are in love. Thank you God.