Retrospect and Forward

i have spent the last six weeks dealing with my father having suffered a major stroke the last week of sherwood. it’s been a difficult time, to certain. the finiteness of our lives, the lack of control, the realities that we are all but grains of sand on a vast ocean…and waves wash us where they will…in their own time.

but amidst the struggles and sadness and moments of doubt and despair, i have often found myself wandering amidst the woods of sherwood’s first annual faire…and such memories have inspired me beyond belief.

were you there?
did you hear the drums or the music all about the pub?
did you dance?
did you feel the amazing spirit that permeated the forest?

my wife and i took our young boys to the inauguration of obama in january of 2009. we stood in the capital’s mall with over two million people. it was 24 degrees outside. the experience was overwhelming.

and yet, the season we found refuge in sherwood surpassed even that.

there was a magic about the experience.

i went back and read emails and orders and contracts dating back to 2008 regarding sherwood. all the work. all the planning. all the dreams of many that went into this year.

and here we sit. it’s over. no, it’s just begun.

we wanted the business to succeed; but, more importantly, we wanted to build community and a sense of tribe.

we made enough money to pay the bills. no profits. no extras. we are taking out another loan to build on the infrastructure–permanent toilets, more parking, and a great hall. we are committed to the future of sherwood and have invested pretty much everything we have.

but i am drawn back to my christian upbringing and teachings…when jesus said something to effect of “tear down the walls to the synagogue and the place of worship will still abide.”

sherwood is the culmination of a thousand people’s dreams and hopes. it’s the music and art and conversations and relationships which will outlive the physical structures built on the land.

sherwood is a testimony that we all want to belong and be accepted.
sherwood is the expression of our hearts and minds.
sherwood is the beginning of something greater than ourselves…

i received an email last week that brought me to tears. i asked the gentleman if i could share it in a blog and he agreed…so here it is:

“Dear Rengypsy,

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating Sherwood Forest Faire. I have lived all of my life in Texas and for decades I have heard about TRF and Scarborough, but I have never made it to either one of them for a visit.

By divine synchronicity, I met Sherry at a party last February and we struck up a conversation about spirituality, metaphysics and Ren Faires. She told me about Sherwood, that it was new and that it was opening within the week.

My first day to attend any kind of a faire was on March 20th, the day that cold front blew into Texas. I’d promised her I’d go, and after the rain blew through, I threw on my garb and headed out to McDade. The first thing I did after entering those gates was to go buy a warm cloak!

But, dear God, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I have always loved history, and European culture, Medieval and Renaissance music, and the days of plain old manners. So this faire was just an absolute feast for my mind and senses.

But in that cold, I experienced a transformation. Sherry’s favorite place is the hookah tent and we went in there to get out of the wind. As everyone huddled for warmth, smoking and drinking, the music began to play. I was sitting just inches from the musicians of Circa Paleo. I felt transported back in time. Back when life was simpler, not easier, but simpler. When people didn’t live such isolated lives. When a person’s world was their village and everyone knew everyone else. And even though most folks there didn’t know me, they accepted me and welcomed me.

And I thought this must be what it was like all those centuries ago. Everyone would huddle in the local pub for warmth and wine and convivial company. A woman sitting on her lover’s lap, the villagers listening to the musicians, the barkeep serving up steaming hot liquids, and the dancers leading everyone in a chorus to the song.

And I felt I was a part of something larger, something primal, something that modern American society has lost and disconnected itself from. I really felt a part of the human tribe that day, and it was the most wonderful experience I had in years, if not ever.

I lasted 6 hours in that cold until I just had to go home to get warm. But I knew one thing for certain. That I would come back. I had to come back, like salmon to the river where they were spawned, driven by some primal instinct. I came back for both days of your closing weekend. On those days I really felt the Spirit of the Forest. I could feel everything alive, like a shaman can, and I could hear the spirits talking to me. Like the faerie of the woodlands, calling me to return again and again and again.

I attended churches regularly and faithfully for 22 years. And I volunteered and gave them so much of my time. But never in my life in those places did I feel what I felt in Sherwood Forest.

And I saw the most wonderful thing on the last day of faire. Two men, in full regalia, hand in hand. And this lonely man thought to himself, “this is what I want. I want to find love here. Because here, my love is not scorned. It is celebrated and welcomed and accepted.” And I have to tell you, I hate the modern bar scene. It’s just not a place for meaningful conversation and connection, at least not for me. But out in the forest, I believe I can find that love. I know it. Let the spirits lead me where they will. I will find it.

That Easter Sunday afternoon I was taking my cloaks out to the car and stopped by Two Spools to pick them up. I hugged Stacy then went inside to shake Chad’s hand. And that big ol’ pirate pulled me in for a hug. I was moved. And that’s when I knew.

I had found my family.

A new family, a new place to belong. To be where I was accepted and not judged. Where I didn’t have to prove myself. Where I don’t have to live in fear of being rejected or abandoned because I am not what someone else wants or expects me to be. To be where everyone is free to be who they are. How I have looked all my life for such a place. I had begun to think it was mythical. That only in the After Life could I find this. And then I came to Sherwood Forest.

And I’ve been reading your blog and I really resonate with your spiritual outlook on life and living. And everyone who has been going to faires for years has told me how completely unlike a first-year faire this is. And how spiritual it is and how there really is magic in this forest.

I am a dreamer, sir. I have been studying my dreams for over 20 years. And I had this dream that I was helping to build a castle in Sherwood Forest. A Norman castle with crenellated towers, a drawbridge and a moat. And a medieval garden inside the walls. Oh what a wonderful thing that would be!

And I read in your blog how you have these gatherings out there in the forest. And how I so want to be a part of this. And I will be there on June 12th. I don’t have much to offer you, sir. I am lousy with a hammer, but I can paint. I do not possess great physical prowess. But I will do what I can to make this dream keep coming alive. Because I want more of what I found in the Spring of 2010. And I want to get to know you all and help make these dreams come true.

I am yours sincerely,

David”

this, my friend, is what sherwood is about. and this is why our beautiful faire will continue to grow and prosper. it is a spiritual faire. it’s a human spirit that yearns for the best in the human experience and expression.

we are grateful and much humbled by your presence this year. we hope not to disappoint you in the developments and evolution of sherwood. we urge each of you to consider the faire as yours…to take some ownership and responsibility to mould and form and nurture the faire into what it can become.

we are planning for 2011. we will continue to have gatherings under the trees, within the seven sisters, around ye olde trip to jerusalem pub. bring your best to the tribe. lift up your cares and know that sherwood is as much your doing as ours.

send us your thoughts, criticisms, suggestions. tell others to join us in 2011…as there is always room for another within the protective walls of sherwood.

we love you. we appreciate you. we need you.

HUZZAH!!!!

rengypsy

Category : All Posts & Rengypsy's Blog

7 Comments → “Retrospect and Forward”


  1. Stephanie Ellison
    7 years ago

    Simply beautiful words by the author of that letter. That is what I have found there as well. TRF will not be the same as SWFF. The personal touch is what makes it real.

    I want to share with others who will be reading comments on this particular entry. I’ve read this before elsewhere.

    —————
    I experienced something at the Ye Olde Trip that I’ve never experienced before in my life. There was the revelry of the final celebration of the closing with bands playing and singing together. After it finished, I went to sit down near by the Golden Conquistador. Only a minute later, I heard singing again. I thought, “Oh, it’s starting again!” and walked back there, only to find there was no one singing… Just all the people talking together. I tried to see if there was a PA system playing back choral music, which is what it sounded like. I couldn’t believe my ears! I was still hearing men and women singing in chorus, but it was not-too-faint that I wouldn’t notice it, and it was indefinite. Sometimes, I’d swear that I was hearing a chorus with 3, maybe 4 different lines of voice in unison (men and women) in a quick waltz for only 2 or 3 seconds at a time, the rest being indefinite vocalizations with no definite beat. I think that since emotions of the good sort were still running high, people were still talking in the voice they sang in, and it all came together in a way that I could hear it 50 feet from the stage and didn’t go away until there was probably less than 25 people in the building itself. I guess it has to do with my hearing. My hearing can be very impressionable under the right circumstances (mistaking what I hear for something else or hearing “artifacts” that hang over from the event, but this one has NEVER happened before) because of the nerve deafness that I have.
    —————–


  2. Nathanael
    7 years ago

    —————I experienced something at the Ye Olde Trip that I’ve never experienced before in my life. There was the revelry of the final celebration of the closing with bands playing and singing together. After it finished, I went to sit down near by the Golden Conquistador. Only a minute later, I heard singing again. I thought, “Oh, it’s starting again!” and walked back there, only to find there was no one singing… Just all the people talking together. I tried to see if there was a PA system playing back choral music, which is what it sounded like. I couldn’t believe my ears! I was still hearing men and women singing in chorus, but it was not-too-faint that I wouldn’t notice it, and it was indefinite. Sometimes, I’d swear that I was hearing a chorus with 3, maybe 4 different lines of voice in unison (men and women) in a quick waltz for only 2 or 3 seconds at a time, the rest being indefinite vocalizations with no definite beat. I think that since emotions of the good sort were still running high, people were still talking in the voice they sang in, and it all came together in a way that I could hear it 50 feet from the stage and didn’t go away until there was probably less than 25 people in the building itself. I guess it has to do with my hearing. My hearing can be very impressionable under the right circumstances (mistaking what I hear for something else or hearing “artifacts” that hang over from the event, but this one has NEVER happened before) because of the nerve deafness that I have.—————–
    +1


  3. Amber Galvan
    7 years ago

    It’s hard to put in words the magnitude of what is being born here. I feel like I’m a part of something magical yet tangible. TRF is great, but its hard to really feel like it’s OURS. Sherwood Forest just feels like home. It IS home.


  4. joshua amyx
    7 years ago

    lovely, rengypsy. thank you for sharing and being.
    cheers!
    joshua and circa paleo


  5. Hero Black Knight & Missy
    7 years ago

    Many prayers & blessing to your family & your fathers recovery…..thank you for sharing that,we always enjoy your blogs.1st year SWFF was most beautiful,the spirit of the people and the forest itself . We hope to enjoy many more to come.


  6. Talon Drago
    7 years ago

    Words will not express my thanks for this post. I have always found God in in creation and there are many expressions of God in Sherwood. Now I understand why, your own spirit lives there with so many others rejoicing in life.


  7. Tracy Friend
    7 years ago

    Very moving letters, SWFF truely is magic. I feel it when I’m there, I feel it my thoughts, I feel it in the love of everyone involved. Thank you for putting it into words so well 🙂


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