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29 Jul 2014 by gebhard, No Comments »

pennsic_campThe Pennsic War is the single largest SCA event. Ten to fifteen thousand people come together for two weeks of the year in what is deemed the most of everything the SCA has to offer.

One of the many things I’m impressed with about Pennsic lies in watching it come together.  Nearly overnight, a grass field becomes a thriving city.

The first night everyone camps together on the battlefield. This is referred to as Zero Night. The cars stream in from all over the country and set up side by side. This year, like many others, as I walked through the rows of cars, people would greet me with a hug, and the phrase “Welcome Home”. It’s always been fun for me to think of Pennsic as Home, and those other 50 weeks of the year as somewhere I’m only visiting.

In the morning, everyone breaks off to their separate camps to begin what is known as Manual Labor Weekend, to dig holes and put up pavilions and carry very heavy things.

On the way to our block to start our weekend of setting up camp. I greeted a friend of mine, with the same phrase, “Welcome Home”. He surprised me when he said “No, No.  This isn’t Home. Home is Home.  This is different”.

I thought about that awhile.  Maybe he’s right. This is nothing more than a patch of grass. My real home is hundreds of miles away. That’s where my computer, socks, guitar and all my other things live.

That’s where my alarm goes off in the morning, and I go to work. I sit in my office and work on my PC. Then I head home, stop to fill up my car, then stop by the grocery store before going home to once again sitting down at a computer and watch shows or play games. I may have done all of these things without talking to another human being.

All the technology we add to our everyday lives, most of which I’m happy about, has a side effect of making modern life…. lonely. Very little human interaction is required to get through an average day.

One of the shows recommended to me by one of my feeds was a “reality” based show where they take a person and drop him or her off in some remote place to see if he or she can live thirty days without any sort of help. I think each person gets their clothes and a knife to start with. Very few can make it the whole thirty days.

The show suffers a flaw. Humans are social animals. With two people, getting food is a lot easier. By the time you have three, you can start dividing tasks out. By six, people there would be a fully functional village at the end of thirty days.

With thousands of people, you would have a city show up overnight.  In a testament to human hard work and engineering, it would be complete with portable houses, towers, hot water shower, kitchens and solar charged batteries to keep connected to the internet.

Does this make a home? What or Where is home?  Is home simply a place where you hang your hat, or coronet?  I respect the straight forward nature of “home” is where you are.  However, there are allot of places I’ve been I’d rather not think of as home. Shouldn’t home be a little more than just where you’re currently located?

Maybe home is what you make of it? I’ve spend allot of time making this plot of grass and dirt into something. As I stood panting from knocking apart a few feet of earth with a pick-axe to make our shower pit, the breeze swept down the hill, the white clouds vibrant on the dark blue sky, the smell of fresh grass lingering in the wind. I could hear the banging of hammers as other people built their “homes” and the sounds of children playing in the camp next door.

I’ve heard it said “Home is Where the Heart is”, this is what I prefer, because then my Home will forever be where industrious people are willing to vacation from their jobs to work in the hot sun to make a place to stay. Where the sounds of children running, screaming and playing can always be heard.  Where people gather to trade stories of silly things and valiant deeds. Where the laughs and drinks are shared equally and as easily. Where a complete stranger might walk up, give me a hug and say “Welcome Home”.


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