Winter Settles In…

It is mid December, and we are nearing the end of 2020, and maybe even this pandemic. Here in New England, we are being regaled with a fairly significant snow storm and it is beautiful.

Snow falls around the back yard pell I have disguised as a birdfeeder to appease my homeowners’ association.

With the snow, the event season, already almost dead from an abundance of safety, is driven further into our memories. I know they are trying to see if they can run the Vermont Winter Renaissance Faire, but I’m not holding my breath. Carolina Carnage, the US national qualifier event for both IMCF and Battle of the Nations, is tentatively still on. Nothing else is even planned till spring, when, we hope a sizable chunk of the population will have been vaccinated, but that isn’t even likely to happen till the beginning of summer or later.

Today, we are bracing for a long and lonely winter. I am blessed that the Knights Hall is still running limited classes, even distanced and masked, as is logical. There, I get my twice weekly dose of a couple minutes of social interaction across a room and through our masks, while working hard to keep my body in the best condition I can. I recently changed up from pell work to striking drills. It is a small distinction, where in pell work, you focus on learning technique and in striking drills, we focus on maintaining good technique when thoroughly exhausted, pushing our physical limits and working our much needed cardio. With the striking drills we use full contact, padded “boffer” swords against Century Sports’ “B.O.B.” human like striking targets. It is brutal, fun, and excellent training. It is also done without human partners, so social distancing is maintained. On Fridays, when the weather allows, I’m pursuing one of the other quintessential knightly arts: horsemanship. In this I am but a babe. The folks at Mack Hill Riding Academy have been excellent. While I’ve studied the sword for decades, riding is pretty new to me. I’m already seeing parallels and thoroughly enjoying it. My only sadnesses are not starting sooner and that I only ride once a week.

I am lucky to have those opportunities and I make the sacrifices of time and money necessary to do them. That occupies less than half my week though. The rest of the time, I am maintaining my day job and doing the usual “living” activities – cooking, cleaning, groceries, vegetating at the TV, and sleeping. In normal life, my week would include some sort of activities on weekends, usually in armor, often fighting other people in armor, as well as repairs and maintenance during the week. But this year has been quiet in that aspect.

The snow makes everything more quiet. It gives me time to think of my distant friends and loved ones and wonder how you are all doing right now. I know many of you are going through some hard times. What few difficulties I have pale in comparison. I think of my friends driving plow trucks or tending to the sick and wounded right now. I think of those who are suffering from abusive relationships or substance addiction. I think of my friends with depression and anxiety all made so much worse by this pandemic. You are not forgotten and you are loved. Hang in there. Get help if you need. Reach out if you need. Stay strong. Yes, you can. I believe in you. I’m proud of you. Keep going.