by Megan Hussey
Chivalrous, handsome, and endlessly cultured, Andrew Bergen seems very much like a man from another time. When he acquires a lushly embroidered tapestry that depicts a bountiful Renaissance forest, he finds himself magically transported to the era of knights and ladies, chivalry and grace.
The tapestry takes him to a Renaissance village where he meets its enchanting weaver Lady Estella, an artist and intellectual endlessly oppressed by the constraints of her time. Her friendship with the mysterious, forward thinking Andrew evolves into a passionate romance. But to stay together they must overcome their obvious differences, the objections of her family, and the barriers of time itself.
Woven with a skein of pure, lush silk, the tapestry depicted a medieval forest in all its earthly glory; a rich collection of tall trees, emerald-hued ferns, and roses red and gold.
For its current beholder, the tapestry served a dual purpose: both as a teaching tool and an object of fantasy.
Andrew Bergen taught a renaissance history course at Pineview University in Morris, Indiana. He savored sharing the details of his favorite time period with his students; and particularly liked to show them his collection of art from this period.
“In the time of the renaissance, ladies and gentlemen, people could not entertain themselves with television or movies…” Hands folded behind his back, he addressed his students in a friendly but authoritative tone.
“They didn’t have TIVO?” A student in the front row, a self-proclaimed slacker named Duke, looked vaguely suicidal at this news.
“No TIVO to be found.” Andrew smiled. “Even so, they found much joy in feasts and balls, music, and classic art.” Andrew’s thick English accent lent a defined emphasis to these last words. “And they communed with nature, which at that time was pure and untouched.”
“Like that one chick the Virgin Queen?” Duke smiled, drawing a smattering of nervous laughter from his classmates.
Andrew, for his part, pinned the young man with a cool, unyielding stare.
“That ‘one chick’ was perhaps the greatest ruler of her time, if not of all history.” He placed his hands on his hips. “We should revere her and her accomplishments.” With this, he gestured broadly toward the tapestry behind him. “And we should respect and enjoy the many worksof art produced during this enlightened era.” His shoulders relaxed as a loud bell resounded through the halls of his classroom. “I believe we’ve ‘respected’ and ‘revered’ enough for one day, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll see you next week.”