St. Benedict and the Rainstorm
Early February evening.
Benedict and his twin sister Scholastica,
talk for hours about dealing with wayward
monks, childhood memories, regrets, and how they
sometimes steal away to the forest to dance.
The beeswax candle extinguished, she
went to fetch another, dinner plates
pushed aside with drips of grease left from
roast chicken, celebrating this yearly
time together, the extra jug of wine nearly emptied.
He gets up to leave but she protests.
Benedict’s own Rule, requires him
to be back at his monastery overnight.
Perhaps she knew she would die only three days later.
Or maybe the rose-hued glimmer of evening astonished her.
Or this was one of those moments she just wished
would linger on, her brother’s beard shining
silver in the growing moonlight, wanting to
remember the great brown kindness of his eyes,
feeling the rough warmth of his hands in hers.
Her tears rise up,
falling in great splashes,
her weeping calls forth a fierce rainstorm.
Cosmic forces come down on the side of love,
demanding that self-set rules be broken.
I imagine the two of them listening to
the relentless rain beating down around them,
Benedict yielding to the moment, suddenly
seeing the necessity of riverbanks, but also the
widening expanse into the sea.
Perhaps that night they each dreamt that the river
swelled so high it lifted them to the blue bowl of sky,
until the horizon hallowed them.
Until he could see far beyond the stone walls
he had so carefully built.
---Christine Valters Paintner
(image is hers also, many thanks!!)