A Precious Gem

Note: Cross-posting from Facebook. I want to keep this where I can easily find it next week.


The calm of the morning was disrupted when I looked down and realized what time it was and the random thought floated across my mind that in 24 hours, I would be on site at Sapphire Joust; my gut clinched up, but only a little.

The last one.

The Emerald Joust cycle closed the year before I joined the SCA, so all I have ever known were Sapphire Jousts. In the same way that the oldtimers would slip up for years and call it Emerald, I think it is going to be years before I will think of it as Ruby.

It is my favorite event. Right now, it even edges out Pennsic for my favorite because even as autocrat, Sapphire is less expensive and less hassle and less driving than Pennsic (ask me at Pennsic, and I am likely to tell you I like Pennsic best because it is less hassle than Sapphire, though…I am a fickle woman.).

Maybe 18 months ago, I was bandying the idea of autocratting another Gem Joust around in my head. I was trying then to decide whether it would be the last Sapphire or first Ruby. I came to the conclusion that I would rather close the chapter on “my” decade of Gem Jousts. I hope someone from the newer generation of Caer Mearians runs the first Ruby, turning the page and opening a new chapter of Caer Mear’s history with fresh eyes and an open mind.

Today, I feel like a relic from another time. The Barony is looking forward to Sapphire, of course, but there is a lot of buzz and excitement building for Ruby. I love that. Change is so very good for events and for groups, even when change can be painful. But I feel frozen in time; stodgy, set in my ways, as inflexible as iron. I fear I will become one of those crusty, jaded peers who can only remember how we used to do things “back in the good old days,” (which, by the way, weren’t really all THAT good) and never allow myself to see the good and beauty of change and growth, however different it might be from where I have come from. That mindset is as good as a death sentence to your joy in the SCA. And when you lose your joy you either quit, or you start stealing other people’s joy. It’s better to just quit.

The most random memories of Sapphires past come to mind today. Michael and Keigan in the finals of my first Sapphire; I didn’t know then why it was such a big deal that Michael won the Sapphire prize. I remember getting up at dawn with Byram and moving the listfield to better terrain at Westview on the James. Then there was the time Fritz and I charged into a flooded merchant’s tent thinking we were rescuing a drowning child (it was a carved wooden bear). I remember the morning I kept a homeless guy off site before sunrise at the Raceway, armed with nothing more than a rattan sword (that was scary). I remember Byram giving me his Sapphire prize the year he won it. The very next year, I remember Byram and I fought each other in the final bout of his Roses Challenge, and we hugged and sobbed on the list field after the final telling blow was thrown. In 2006, I was the autocrat, and I remember lots of things I would rather forget, but I will never forget the Herald calling the Pelicans into court as while my husband was kneeling before their Majesties. In 2007, I was pregnant and remember Byram got to feel Grace kick for the very first time while Tash was telling the Tree of Woe story. And then I remember our Investiture and Kari and Sinclair’s faces as we gave our oath of Fealty. The next year, I remember completely losing my mind while fighting in the pouring rain in Saint Aiden’s tournament. Finally, I remember sobbing while closing out our final court last year, and turning that humiliation into pride and joy as we were “deinvested” and were marched off to the Holy Land with our respective orders.

So, SO, much history. So much of it formed who I am today. It threatens to pile up and overwhelm…which only means one thing. It is time to stop thinking and start working.

I will see you at Sapphire, I hope.


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