It was more than a deer trail, but less than a road, this little path through the wood. Autumn leaves of copper hue littered the path. Andre had travelled it hundreds of time since he had taken his vows, but this time was different. He was no longer a novice carrying food to the hermitage, but he was going to be taking up residence there. For the next year he would live a life of prayer and contemplation uninterrupted by the face to face contact with humankind.
True, a novice would come each day and bring him food and drink, but he would remain in the sanctuary of the windowless cabin until he heard the post-Laud bell. He would then collect his daily meal and return to his prayers and study.
Brother Benedict had been welcomed back into the community only yesterday. He was pale and gaunt after his year of solitude, but somehow the glory of God seemed to emanate from him all the more for his ordeal.
Would Andre be so blessed? Only time would tell. But for now he travelled the lonely copper strewn trail to the lonelier hermitage where only the Lord would be his companion.