Sunday, September 23, 2007

Medieval Reenacting, Modern Reporting

The Washington Post lies in ambush on the table when I finally dredge up dinner. I idly thumb through, looking for something that goes well with spaghetti. I'm amazed--and excited-- to find a huge article on current interest in the Middle Ages. Last weekend the reporter braved an SCA event in our neighboring kingdom of Atlantia. Today he brings news from the past back to his modern readers.

Yesterday, I ran amok with close friends and benevolent foes at my own shire's annual Siege of Glengary. Knights and ladies, lady knights, merchants, musicians, children and rogues enjoyed battles to take castles and bridges (and a colorful tavern brawl), displays of intricate arts from cordials to hand carts, a period feast cooked by a Food Network celebrity, and a night of middle eastern drumming and dancing.

I devour both the pasta and the Post. The article is well written, and I enjoy the photos. I am biased--I immediately notice the lack of horses, the very source of and inspiration for the word "chivalry". I dig up a photo of my fiery warhorse Sioux and I, taken by Scott Gordon, a wonderful friend and photographer both, at a previous Siege of Glengary. The site that year was larger, so I was able to bring equestrian games into the revelry. "Putting the cheval back in chivalry," I muse.

The Post reporter interviews a spectrum of participants, and touches on the appeal. He defines the reasons people DO it, but there's another point at stake: why people ARE it. I've heard it said that people are human BEINGS not human DOINGS. That is something that gets lost in this era, when people are defined by the jobs they perform or the roles they play. Participation in groups such as the SCA is not escapism, but an expression of a truth at times more honest than modern life allows.

The article mentions SCA groups in the greater DC area. I'm sorry that my own shire of Sylvan Glen is not mentioned. Close enough to DC to be home to increasing hordes of commuters, yet still out on the wild, wonderful frontier. Come to think about it, I prefer it that way.

I yawn, stretch, look at the clock. I put a handful of pictures from centuries ago (it seems like just yesterday) up on Laughing Gypsy Photography. The rest of the pictures will join them soon enough, as well as an event report. For now, I'll dreams of histories to come.

1 comment:

  1. Huzzah for the SCAer's! It's been a long time but I belonged to my own shire once. Fond fond memories!