Siege Diaries 4/16/2021


Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: What can I pay closer attention to today?

The associated meditation focuses on identifying destructive patterns in one’s thoughts.  This, I think, is a useful thing when one’s inner dialogue is contrary to the evidence all around.  Today, though, it’s really hard to focus on my inner thoughts when outside is such a catastrophe.  My inner thoughts at the moment are fine. And the best I can do right now is focus on those things in my control.  They’re all in my house, and I’m not going to be leaving it very much in the next six weeks.  Works for me.

Pennsic was cancelled today.

Cooper’s Lake then scheduled their own medieval event for the weeks it would have been held.  It’s not an SCA event. Like a lot of businesses, they’re struggling.  The decision to schedule something makes sense in some ways, but in other ways it seems just insane.  Too soon.  Even if the US is doing way better on vaccines than we are here in Ontario.

That aside, there is a feeling–call it a gut feeling, call it something else–that that odd valedictory sense I had at the last Pennsic I attended, in 2018, that I would never pass that way again will prove even more deeply prophetic than I thought it would.

At the time, I was marking the end of my time with the Independent. I had spent 19 years as editor-in-chief, and I knew 2018 would be the last.  I knew that certain rhythms would be disrupted, and when I returned, it would not feel the same.  But something else played in the wind.  I felt it that late night when I drank myself beyond tipsiness–itself an oddity; that is rarely my way–and ended up sitting by my tent, alone, close to midnight, listening to Shostakovich (Quartet no. 8) and sobbing.  I stumbled up the hill after that, found the Runestone, and poured a libation there.  The following day was that odd kind of throbbing bright blurry sharpness that only a vodka hangover can bring; I worked my way through the last of my responsibilities on the penultimate day of Pennsic.  It was August 9, a date of multivalent significance that is now also known to me as the “last real day of Pennsic.”  I left the following day.  And I had an odd feeling about it.

I didn’t attend the following year. I mean, I say I know there’s no guarantee that something will always be there, but Pennsic happens every year, or at least used to, and an airshow with 13 Corsairs does not.  I was planning perhaps a truncated visit for 2020 as we had planned a trip to Calgary for the fall that would consume a considerable amount of vacation time and funds,, but that, of course, didn’t happen.  2021 had never been in the cards, either, as soon as it was clear that this pandemic was no passing blip in history.

And it’s premature, perhaps, but I think I’ve just felt a seismic shift.  I am already feeling some profound changes at work in this hobby of mine as it will emerge on the other end.  Not all of them are bad; some are good, but all are different.  And I’m not quite sure where this is all going, but it’s not going back to the way it was.  Of this, I am sure.

Made a lot of progress on my Shostakovich embroidery today, but also have started the process of attaching the cat marginalia to the vest pattern pieces.  I started working on them while I streamed a premiere of a 2018 Boston Symphony performance with Andris Nelsons conducting the Shostakovich 4th Symphony.  It was an outdoor performance, and the gods apparently decided Shostakovich’s massive orchestration wasn’t enough and added thunder, which could be heard in the recording.  It was a spectacular performance, even though I had to switch my headphones to mono.

Dave’s had some general chills and ickiness from his vaccine today.  Nothing too extreme–he says it feels like fighting off a cold.

As I alluded to above, the province is in full out panic mode over the spiking virus cases, and is shutting down all non-essential retail, supposedly stepping up enforcement of health regulations, and putting in checks at provincial borders.  Still no sick leave, though.  And still lots of whining about not having vaccines.  Yeah, we’d all like more vaccines, DoFo, but so does the rest of the world.