Okay, yes, this is a photography blog…no I do not have any of my work for this post. I know, I know…kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it?
Anyway, on to the reason for this post…
A few months ago, a friend and I were chatting online, and she told me about this group called the SCA. “What is that?” I remember asking. So she explained it to me very simply, “Medieval reenactments, camping, feasts…etc” (that was literally copied and pasted from our chat). I didn’t need to hear anymore…she had me at “Medieval.” Two days later I was riding with her and her family to a battle practice (yes I said battle) about to meet people I had never even spoken to before. This was a big deal for me, because when I am not behind the camera I can be extremely shy. So, yes I was very nervous. I am not sure what I expected…maybe I was going on the countless times I was the “new kid” in school and everyone looked at me like I had two heads. Maybe a small part of me thought that is what would happen when I showed up to the battle practice. I can honestly say that they did not look at me like I had two heads…we had not even fully got out of the van when a member was walking up to us welcoming us.
Immediately we were surrounded by the most helpful people…people who not only answered question after question, but welcomed us into their homes, took us by the hand and showed us how to make garb, told us countless stories, taught us new crafts…if we wanted to learn it, someone knew someone that could show us.
A few weeks later dressed in my first piece of garb, an Irish cotehardie my husband and I went to our first event. A birthday celebration of the Barony we were befriending. I was like a kid in a candy store. All my childhood fantasies of being a medieval princess were being played out before my eyes (ok, I was a commoner not the princess but still). Men were dressed in heavy armour fighting for the favor of their Baron and Baroness, and children who looked as though they stepped through time were playing, and running with their friends no iPods, or Nintendo systems, not even many cell phones were in sight.
One of the highlights of that day for me was being able to shoot a bow. Something I have wanted to do ever since seeing robin hood for the first time as a child. There I was, bow in hand, arm drawn back, eye on the target, I take a deep breath let it out and with it I let the arrow fly. No, I did not hit the center, but I did hit the target and for me that was absolutely amazing. We ended that wonderful day with a feast, music and singing. Yes, I had a wonderful time that day, however I was still wanting that moment where I felt truly transported in time (I’m an artist, my imagination usually gets the better of me). Even though I didn’t quite get my moment I couldn’t wait for the next event.
I wasn’t sure if we would be able to go to War of The Wings which was the next big event on the calendar, but we managed to pay for our registration. I will be truthful I robbed Peter to pay Paul for that one, and it is a decision I will never regret. It was there I really began to understand the SCA.
I think it is in our blood…our souls long for what our ancestors experienced. I know for me I have always dreamed of what it would be like to living in the fourteenth or fifteenth century when Europe was ruled by Kings and Queens, and Princesses had their Ladies in Waiting. Or when we believed stories about the elves, fairies, Merlin, and King Arthur and The Knights of The Round Table. Fantasy Authors like Tolkien, and some science fiction authors like Terry Goodkind prove my theory. While yes they may write fantasy, our medieval or Western Civilization history has its fingerprints on every page of their books.
This weekend I had my moment…the one that I was longing for when I first started this adventure. Truth be told I had several moments, like when my husband and I were learning medieval dances in the “castle” by the light of torches. However, my biggest moment…the one that had me feeling like I had truly been transported in time was during the processional. There I was, walking to “war” with my barony. My husband to my left carrying a black and yellow banner. My Baron and Baroness in front with our war banner as we marched to the battle field. We were joined there by all the baronies in our kingdom, all waiting to align themselves with one side or another. Barony after Barony were called forth before the King and Queen, declaring which side they would fight for. The pageantry was far more than I had ever expected, I could hear the heavy footfalls of the “war horses” as they waited for their riders to bring them forward…and for a brief moment all of it was real. I was not twenty first century Amanda simply standing in a dress I had sewn on my little sewing machine at home playing dress up on a piece of farmland…I was in another time. I could see it, and whats more I could feel it in my bones…I had been completely transported in time, and was completely lost to the game…to the dream.
Later as I sat in the grass on the rapier field with my Baroness, I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera. What self respecting photographer doesn’t bring her camera to something of this magnitude hoping for the opportunity to capture memories that will last a life time…because as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. However, as I thought about this I realized something…had I brought my camera I would have been focused on what I could capture through my lens and while yes I would have looked back on my pictures fondly…I would not have been able to truly experience this weekend. Somethings, you have to see to believe…and yes a picture is wonderful but in this case just can not do justice to what truly occurred.
Later that evening I met a woman from another camp, Molly was her name I believe. She asked me post on the Kingdom of Atlantia’s page about my experience at WOW. She told me (jokingly) she hoped my only memory of WOW wouldn’t be how cold it was. I can honestly say that yes, we were cold…oh my goodness were we cold, however I walked with my husband through “town” with only starlight and torchlight to guide us, I danced, and laughed merrily surrounded by not only our friends and our barony but our kingdom. It was truly an amazing weekend.
Until next time!!!
Photo taken by my hubby of me on the battlefield.