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Beginner's Corner
Section 2.....Keepin' Goin'


Where Youíve Been and Where Youíre Going

Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas
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No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn


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Where Youíve Been and Where Youíre Going

By

Phil Jose


In the proceeding articles, Iíve tried to give you enough information and advice to get you going on this way of life called ďreenacting.Ē In all sincerity, I hope Iíve been some help to you, and that youíve started a lifelong journey with the rest of us. I hope that youíve come far from that day when the eager flatlander in you started making subtle changes that turned you into a pilgrim. Youíve decided on your persona, your clothing, your tent, and your gun. None of these are trifles. Be proud of the accomplishments youíve achieved.

By now, if youíve been dressing out and attending events, youíve come to realize that you still have a long way to go. Thatís fine; since the end of this journey is never well defined, it means that we all still have a long way to go. Remember that when you have questions, youíre amongst a group of folks that are never shy about giving an opinion on anything. Youíll have the help youíll need. Itís a good feeling, and part of the enjoyment.

Youíve also probably learned a few things beyond what Iíve set down for you. Are you starting your fires with flint and steel or have you made that perfect pot of camp stew? Wonderful! Learning is another good feeling.

But youíll find thereís another sort of learning involved in our way of life, one that you could never quite imagine from reading or research. No one can ever teach it, but youíll know when youíve experienced it:

    Itís the comfort and happiness youíll know when you realize that even rugged individualists like yourself still need a sense of community, and youíve found it in camp.

    Itís the reaffirmation of the values all honorable people in all times and places have lived by. There is still a revered place for honesty and uprightness in this tired old world, never forget that.

    Itís the peace you find on a November night, long and crisp and clear, with your feet at the campfire, watching flame and embers dance and smoke offering itself to Heaven.

    Itís the joy of listening to voices and laughter merge into a chorus of Lifeís Sweet Song.

    Itís that small piece of a private world you make when you decide to finally tune out the rest of the camp and turn in for the night, be you under canvas or merely over it.

    Itís the quiet within that comes from sitting in one place for a while, content with the marvel of just being.
    In its simplest form, itís the grand realization of how very little it takes to be truly happy, to feel truly blessed.

Does that sound overly romanticized? I certainly hope so. It was the romantic in me that made me pursue a way of life so different from the one I lead to earn my keep. It is the romantic in me that puts a ponderous grin on my face every time I see myself fully dressed out. It will be the romantic in me that keeps me coming back to camp, friends, and woodsmoke so long as I have breath left in me.

I canít tell you what the ultimate destination is on this lifelong path youíve chosen. What I can tell you is a little of what youíll meet on the way: Youíre going to meet some of the finest people you could ever want to know, and youíre going to live the finest way of life that there is.

To those of you whoíve made your start and found anything of value at all in these articles, Iíd like to say ďthank you.Ē Youíve done something that gives me a lot of happiness. In guiding you to the best of my ability, Iíve given back just a little of what this life has given me. Itís also a comforting thing to me, knowing that the way of life I love is being passed on to willing and worthy hands.

Thereís something Iíd like to give you. Itís a small and simple thing thatís been responsible for some of my most treasured moments. At you next event, when the tourists start wandering off and Saturday afternoon begins its gentle transition to evening, seek the highest spot in camp. Look around. Delight in the quiet spectacle of sunlight finding its way through the thickening smoke of suppertime. Listen and realize that you donít even have to take part in the conversation or laughter to gain joy from it; you can just steal some as it floats past on the breeze. Then bow your head and thank God that youíre a part of it.

And if you find a blue-clad coureur du bois standing near you, introduce yourself. Iíd be proud to shake your hand.

If the tone of this article sounds like a sign off, thatís because it is. For right now, Iíve come to the end of my usefulness.

Donít think youíre rid of me, though. Iím going to take some time off and learn a little more. When I have something to pass onto you, look for further articles. Meanwhile, if I can be of service, Iím just an
email away, please drop me a line.

Itís as my persona and alter ego, Le Lezard, might say: ďCíest-ne pas Ďau revoir,í mais soulement Ďa bientot.íĒ (ďItís not ďgoodbye,Ē just ďsee you later.Ē)

God bless. May our paths one day cross,
--Phil.

Copyright 2000, Philip Jose.

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