Feeling the weight of the rider upon its back, the small brown and grey donkey trod slowly, head down, in the direction it was led. It's hooves, clopping on hardened dirt, kicked up swirls of dust on the dry, well-traveled road. Like his rider, he was tired and thirsty.
The man, his aching feet clad in brown leather sandals, rough work-worn hands holding the donkey's rope rein loosely, walked slowly. He was exhausted and his carved, lined face betrayed the worry he felt. He needed to find lodging soon. All the Inns they had passed were filled, although he knew even if there had been a vacancy, his purse was near empty and he could not provide all the warmth and comfort he desired for his precious Mary. Sighing loudly, he glanced back at her sitting astride his faithful carrier, admiring her soft, glowing face lovely in the dim light of the setting sun.
Like her beloved Joseph, she was dressed in thin brown cloth, almost ragged and draped across her shoulders and around her swollen belly. Her head was covered against the crisp chill of the late evening air, but she smiled through her weary aches, past her gnawing hunger, having faith that this man she so dearly loved would find them all food and shelter for the fast-approaching night.
As the sun faded and the stars began to fill the sky, she settled down deeper into the blanket saddling the donkey's back. She felt movement in her belly, and her heart and her spirit became flooded with overwhelming love and tenderness, and with a mother's instinct she knew that soon the breath of new life would be upon them and all would be well.
source: internet photo
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in celebration of Twelve Days of Mary Love