December 18, 2015 by phicks2012
I’ve been in the SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) for over twenty seven years now, which, in itself, is pretty frightening. I mean, that’s more of a “career” than I ever managed to have mundanely. In real life, my jobs were all dead-end, thankless jobs with no real future, under a long series of horrible supervisors, and many in offices rife with petty politics. Funny that in the SCA I’ve practically made a career of being a Chronicler (publishing) and a Herald, and actually been appreciated for both.
In the SCA we try really hard to reward achievement, talent and hard work, and to do it publicly. I love that about the Society, even when occasionally people do get called up in Court and presented with awards I truly believe to be undeserved. I also love the educational aspects of our organization, because no matter what period art or craft we might want to learn we can pretty much find someone who can teach us.
And every once in a while there is an event, or a gathering, or a location on a site where the modern world ceases to intrude. Often this happens at night when distant power lines and modern buildings are no longer visible, and parked cars are out-of-site, and ground-fires are burning, and period tents are candle-lit and hung with heraldic banners. It happens when everyone gathered around is wearing period garb, and you can hear drumming or singing in the distance, and the light is supplied by torches, moonlight and starlight rather than by electricity. It happens when you look around and see period furniture, and sip mead out of period goblets and tankards, and sample period foods. It happens when people stop talking, for awhile, about Facebook and movies and automotive issues, and when you’re far enough away from the nearest city to be able to hear silence.
This happens, most often, at large wars like Pennsic and Gulf Wars where hundreds of people in garb are gathered together living in tents for a week or more, cooking in their campsites, attending classes and revels, shopping in torch-lit merchant areas where vendors are selling goods and foods out of tents and where, off in the distance, the sounds of revelry can be heard.
At such times, the period ambiance can carry us back to a less frenetic era, and we can forget, for a while, about the stresses and pressures of our modern world.It can give us a respite from the reality we know too well, and allow us to believe, for a while, that life is simpler and better, and more noble.
The verse below was inspired by just such moments of suspended reality, and I hope you enjoy it.
Come forth in linen garbed, or woolens fine,
Or yet in Eastern silks of vibrant hue.
Bring forth your banners and your honey wine
To grace the hall and give the dream its due.
By candlelight all verses seem profound
And faces yet unlined by modern care,
As glasses raise to toast a fleeting Crown,
And we convene to taste less common fare.
The fruit of newer ages put away,
And have the present wear a gentler face,
For chivalry means just as much this day
As when it ruled another time and place.
In centuries long gone the sharpened sword,
And silken sleeve, and thrum of psaltery reigned,
With hawk and hound and maille for armored Lord,
And brimming hearts may dream it back again.
Beneath pavilion or in storied hall
The best of times long gone we all may share.
Bring forth your visions, Lords and Ladies all
That dreams and ambiance may take us there.
[07 February, A.S. XLIV, 2010]