Spending a Day on the Heights
"And let's be easy for a bit. Dear me! We Tooks and Brandybucks, we can't live long on the heights!'
'No', said Merry. 'I can't. Not yet, at any rate. But at least, Pippin,
we can now see them, and honour them. It is best to love first what you
are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some
roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper
and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls
peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not. I am glad that
I know about them, a little...."
This is one of my favorite conversations in LOTR and yesterday I had
occasion to remember about it, for I was feeling very much a Hobbit
spending a day on the heights.
I attended an SCA event yesterday that would normally have been a quiet
little local event except for the fact that the King and Queen had
decided that their Royal Huntsman would be chosen in competition to be
held at this little event.
Now my skills at archery are not up to the caliber that I feel
comfortable competing against the best of the best in our kingdom, but
I did have several friends competing and one of my other friends was
the Huntsman who was stepping down. (they hold the position for approx.
6 months, the length of the reigns of our Kings and Queens.
I helped with the running of the competition some, but the last two
events I have been to were major ones and I was in charge or the deputy
in charge of all the archery activities so I was looking forward to
doing nothing this day. I had entered some weaving in the Arts and
Science competition which was the first of such contests I have
entered. I have only been weaving for a week, but have made a beautiful
belt which was the piece I entered. The theme of the competition was
'newly learned arts."
The day was warm, but not unpleasantly so, like it has been lately and
the competition on the archery field was very intense. I don't believe
I have ever seen a more interesting and challenging shoot. When the
smoke cleared, one of my dearest friends was standing alone as the
winner. I was so happy and so proud, I cried buckets...this is not
unusual for me Embarassed
When I headed back to pick up my entry in the arts competition, I found
that I had not won (I certainly did not expect to,) but one of the
premiere weavers of the area complimented my work and left a book for
me in appreciation of my work.I was really jazzed.
While Court was in session, I had kicked off my shoes and was skimming
through my new book when I heard my name called. The King and Queen
were requesting my presence before them. Now I don't know about you
guys, but whenever I get called up in front of the boss or anyone in
authority, my paranoia takes hold and I wonder 'Oh boy, what did I do
now?' I managed to shove my feet part way into my shoes and my friend
Wil escorted me to kneel in front of Their Majesties. The Queen asked
me how I was feeling and I told her that I wasn't sure. She laughed and
told me that I wasn't in trouble and then asked me a couple of
questions about things I had done recently. She then had the court
herald announce that I was being given the award of King's Archer which
is only given a couple of times a year in the Kingdom for service and
accomplishment in the archery community. You guessed it, I started
bawling again. I was given a beautiful scroll and the award regalia to
wear and then both the King and Queen shook my hand, thanked me and
gave me a hug before I was dismissed.
I was offered the opportunity, a short time later, to be taken on as a
'student', much like a squier to a knight, to improve on my archery
skills and services to the community. This is a direct path to the
highest of the Archery Awards, the Arcus Majoris, which is the closest
to a knighthood that Archers have in this Kingdom. To be asked to take
such a role is another big honor.
Well I was on cloud nine, let me tell you. After court I was talking to
my friends when the Queen's lady-in-waiting came up to us and told my
friend who had won the competition that he was invited to sit at the
head table with Their Majesties for feast and that he could invite a
guest. He invited me to join them so I sat next to the Queen during
dinner and got to chat with her quite a lot. She is a beautiful and
gracious lady and her husband the King is very much the chivalrous
knight.(and very good looking, too!)
All through dinner, I couldn't help but think that I felt like a Hobbit
spending a bit of time on the heights, but that I probably shouldn't
linger there too long. It's nice to see life up there and experience a
bit of it, but I belong a bit more tied to the ground most of the time.
I'm not really afraid of that kind of heights, but it's more a nice
place to visit. I don't think I'd want to live there.