The season turns. The leaves dry out and begin to fall, one by one at first and then in great sheafs. The monks come by daily… more often if the weather is wet… and carefully collect them by hand. To use a rake would be unthinkable. They collect them and carefully smooth them out, then begin the painstaking work of matching them up and ordering them.
Few of the pages are numbered.
Some are in languages that are unknown and untranslatable.
The monks regard these alien texts with no less reverence than the ones which contain useful knowledge in a readily accessible form, and though they can only guess at relationships among the pages from contexts, the make an earnest effort to order and bind them correctly all the same.
That they occasionally reap some practical benefits from the annual harvest of books is a secondary concern. The beauty of the illuminated pages impresses itself also upon the minds of the monks, but that is not what drives them, either. In drier years, the pages often lack color or ornamentation entirely, yet they are collected and curatedwith the same or more care than in more fruitful ages.
Collating and binding the pages is a duty. It is a sacred trust. Even the books they cannot use themselves are preserved with care against a future need they are sure will arise.
Where there is a book, the monks believe, there must be a reader.