St. Basil of Ancyra’s Feastday, Eleventh Year in the Reign of King Richard
Frost still has its clutches over city streets as the sun rises, but by midmorning, it is but a memory. Even so, cracking through the ice in our bucket of water for a morning wash still chills the bones, but there is no denying Spring is here. I see it in the daffodils along the verges, in the sound of birdsong long absent from budding boughs. It is in the cheering warmth of sunshine on a cheek.
And it is most definitely in the steps of my mostly absent apprentice, Jack Tucker. He is becoming a young man before my eyes, which brings back most pleasant memories of myself at a similar age. And at the same time, I realize that I must keep a wary eye on the lad. For I do well remember myself at that age! And as he becomes his own man, so will he venture further into the world of men and of women.
Oh Jack. However am I to impart the dangers ahead? The heartache? But a young man must learn and there is no tutor like Life itself. For indeed, I am no suitable tutor when it comes to judging women. Men I can judge, from their beaded eye and the tick of a cheek. They tongues revel in lies, in wily deceptions. But a woman can be chaste in one moment and a demon the next, all without a hint as to her character beforehand. No, I do not envy Jack his discoveries. Ah. But that is not entirely true. For I do envy his youth and vigor. At thirty-two, I feel my years creeping upon me in a slower reflex or a greater ache when I take a fist to the jaw. It hadn’t always been that way. I was more resilient, full of verve. I see it in Jack. I see my youth in him. With all the mistakes and all the injuries yet to come.
Can I spare him? I shall endeavor to do so, but like all young men, he will only listen so and so until he will not hear it. For he is invincible in his youth. Arrogant. Weren’t we all?
God speed you, Jack Tucker. And God watch over you and your nimble ways.