Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hitting the Wall

Our house is draped in canvas right now.  It rained on the Sunday of our last reenacting weekend of the season, so we had to pack up all the tents wet. In fact, we transported all of the tents back to our house, because Stephen and I had the only vehicle that could accommodate all the tents and poles, so even the ones that are owned by other people ended up at our house. Wet canvas is subject to mildew and mold which can completely ruin a tent, so as soon as it stopped raining (almost a week after we packed them up) Stephen took all the tents back out and laid them all over our yard. In the evening when I’d look up the hill they’d look positively ghostly, their indistinct forms were so amazingly white against the greys and blacks of twilight. Once the tents were on the lawn it rained at least a little every other day, and it is cold enough at night that there is frost. The things just were not drying. When we heard the weather report threaten snow on Sunday night Stephen and I dragged all the canvas inside: 1 large wedge tent, 1 dining fly, 2 pavillion roofs, 2 very long walls and 4 shorter walls. The ground cloths and rugs are still out on the lawn. We draped tents in the garage (one over the band saw and workbench, one over the motorcycles), one in the guest bedroom, one in the sewing room, one in the den, one in the upstairs office, one over the bannister, 3 in the downstairs bathroom. Stephen has already put out the word that next year the only tents coming home with us will either belong to us or to the guild, but not to any individuals; unless those individuals are willing to pay rent, prices not negotiable.

The canvas is such an apt image of the way I feel about reenacting right now. It is the end of the season and I am exhausted by all the reenacting, though we still have cleanup to do and podcasts to record, and blog entries to write, not to mention all the projects that I started during the season and never managed to finish!

In fact, we skipped our last event of the year. After 5 weekends of faire we were going to spend last weekend in the Pocconos with other people who reenact the same time that we do. But by the middle of last week two of the folks going on the trip had bailed out, and we were burnt out and not recovered from Faire. The thought of unpacking and re-packing just to un-pack again was heartbreaking, and the thought of camping in temperatures that were threatening below freezing had me really scared. We tendered our regrets, and I’ve felt relieved and guilty ever since. I still think it was the right decision, but it is really too bad we missed the chance to hang out and network with other folks who are interested in the same stuff we’re interested in!

A few weekends ago I did a bunch of interviews at a Colonial event for the Podcast and I asked one of the folks who agreed to talk to me if he was involved in other reenacting groups. He told me that he was, that he probably was involved in too many groups, that he participated in too many events, and had probably taken the hobby too far. It struck me that that is totally an end-of-the-season sort of answer. That I’m not the only one looking back and wishing I’d had a few more days at home, that I’m not the only one who is tired, and looking forward to a slow-down if not an absolute break.

During the last few weeks of faire, Stephen valiantly carried on the podcast without me. I was tired and the thought of talking for a half an hour or more about Living History on top of doing it every weekend (and our normal jobs and lives on top of that) was just too much for me. When faire ended even Stephen seemed reluctant to head up to the “studio” and talk about Living History. We both love it, but I think we’ve hit a wall.

Don’t worry, all you listeners, all you blog readers, this is only temporary. Already I’m planning all the projects to do over the slower months. We’ve got spring events marked in our calendars. We’re putting together some new workshops and discussions to have at Reenactorfest in February. Tonight I am glad that reenacting follows the earth cycles. It may seem like we’ve slowed down for a bit, but we’ve just got to do a little re-charging. We’ll do a little historical research, read some books, maybe sleep in. And we’ll get through the winter, then emerge in the spring ready to jump back in to history with both feet.

At some point we’ll probably even fold up all those tents.


  1. I completely understand! My schedule usually runs from Easter to October with maybe two free weekends in there. Good luck and enjoy your vacation!

  2. I know the feeling. After having over-extended myself in other hobby organizations I'm now very cognizant of how much time I spend with re-enacting. In fact, this is one of the major reasons I'm not involved in any other re-enactment groups.

    As founder of our group, I also take this into account when planning our event calendar. For us, we find that we can't handle any more than 2 events in a month and no more than 6 events per year. (Not including projects or training.) Of course larger groups probably have an easier time doing more events since not all their members would be doing all the events.

    In the end, remember, we do this to have fun and enjoy the experience. If it starts feeling like a job, we're doing it wrong.

    Dan Crowther
    Ancient Celtic Clans - Founder

  3. I can not read this post at the beginning of a season b/c it will scare me from rejoining the ranks. I can't believe I kept the schedule I used to keep and watching you and Stephen just exhausts me...in a good way but still :-)