When one "plays" in the SCA (something like medieval reenactment), there are a few different tracks one can follow to attain prestige: one can serve (helium-handed volunteers favor this track), focus on studies (known as Arts & Sciences or simply "A&S"), or pursue champion status in one (or more) of several martial styles (heavy, fencing, archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, or siege warfare). The martial path is extremely popular, to the point where most events feature at least one-on-one bouts for points and glory, and frequently giant melees where armies of fighters attack or defend some ideal or property. You know you're around SCAdians when someone says, "have a good war!" before an event.
This weekend was the Great Northeastern War in Hebron, Maine, and it was, indeed, a good war. I don't pay attention to any of the means of attaining status that people who "play" follow, but my patch on Merchants Row, which happens to be between the fighting fields and the showers, lets me see fighters on their way to and from battle, and I saw a lot of smiling faces going both ways. The weather was lovely, apart from an hour-long thunderstorm Saturday afternoon, but even that happened at just the right time, when people were either in the barn attending Court, or back at their camps taking a nap before dinner.
My personal goals for events like this are generally threefold: did I earn enough to cover my expenses, did I get to hug all the friends I wanted to hug, and did I get enough sleep. That last one is the only part where I fell short this time, but it was more than made up for by the beautiful moon I stayed up late to admire last night.
This morning, I packed up my slightly damp tent and thoroughly saturated awnings, along with the rest of my gear, and made the four-hour drive home. I unloaded the Jeep, put in a fabric order because this event nearly cleaned me out of arming caps, and then dragged all the canvas out to the back yard, set up my firepit, pulled out some knitting, and decompressed for a few hours while the canvas dried enough to avoid mildew when packed back into its giant plastic tub.
It was a very good war, and I'm glad to be home. I'm also glad I had the foresight to take tomorrow off work so I didn't have to scramble to do laundry, dishes, and cooking tonight. Experience has taught me that I need a little down-time before easing back into mundane life after a few days away. I'm going to savor it, and then throw myself back into work on Tuesday.