Jacobo the farrier came here to El Parral yesterday to trim the donkeys’ hooves. The date was his choice but it seemed to be a fitting start to a Lent retreat: new hooves on Shrove Tuesday, like a moment of donkey confession.
“I confess, farrier, that it is six months since I, Brother Morris had my last hoof trim and I have since been guilty of gluttony every day, and stealing a carrot from Rubí. I have also kicked Matilde three times, shown lust for Aitana on three occasions but only for very short moments as I’ve had the chop, and frequently run away from Brother Peasant when it is time for my grooming. For these, good farrier, and all my other donkey foibles, I ask forgiveness and promise to be a good and faithful donkey in future.”
Upon which the farrier Jacobo praised Brother Morris for his heartfelt contrition, forgave him his foibles, and as a penance the farrier trimmed his hooves; although it was not clear – while Brother Morris struggled and snorted – whether it was more of a penance for the donkey or Jacobo.
So, on this Ash Wednesday here in El Parral, Brother Peasant joins the donkeys in a forty-day Lent retreat.
This is an “easy” retreat. Here in El Parral for the next forty days I am committing to an easy Lent Rule and one which acknowledges a need for the achievable rather than the superhuman. Brother Peasant has nothing left to prove to God his Maker in any case, but is perhaps more willing to listen these days? We shall see.
Parroquia de Santa Ana in the village of Sella. Imposition of ashes at 4 p.m. The Lent journey begins…
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