As I sit and watch my students work on their end of term projects, I am given enough time to think back to my local Barony, the Barony of Darkwater, and our recent event.
Every year, at Clans, we give out a local award called a Ring of Chivalry. I’ve seen other Baronies do this as well; however, if for some reason your Barony does not, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is an award that carries no rank, title, or position. It has no mention or note within the Order of Precedence and it does not even come with a scroll.
It is, however, an incredibly powerful award and something that is incredibly touching.
I am incredibly honored to have been given my Barony’s Ring of Chivalry this year. Admittedly, I am more overjoyed to have seen the inspirational Lady I voted her, Gravin Eva van Oudeachterkol, receive her Ring as well.
I truly think that the award is so touching because it is a vote of the populace as to who they find to be inspirational. Nothing can take away the feeling of joy of kneeling before a Crown or Coronet for their acclaim, praise, and respect – but to know that you have the respect of the populace as well… there is emotional power in it.
My truthful confession is that I am at once touched, and at the same time, confused. I am not special – nor do I try to be. I do not actively try to be “more courteous” or “more chivalrous” than anyone else, nor do I try to go out of my way to be nice. I have bad days, cranky moods, and you don’t even want to see me before I’ve had a cup of coffee in the morning. And yet…
I believe in the Dream. Not because I want respect, an award, or even the honor of this Ring, but because in believing in it – I am a better person than I have been.
I write the things I do – here, and within performances at the Bardic Circle to show people in the best light, because in them I see the Dream as well. To me… they are that inspiration, not the other way around.
But there’s a trick…
In believing in the Dream-in-Them, that thing which ennobles them and inspires them… I am made better.
A bard may be the Voice of the Dream… but you, the people and populace… you are the lens through which the Dream is seen.
I believe in the Dream because I need to see others believing it as well – because if they can live to the ideal, perhaps I can, too.
Yours in service and humility,
Lord James Highgate of Darkwater is protégé to Baroness Ilene Johnnestoune and Cadet to Don William of Aschem. He holds the awards for Poet Laureate (for about another week), Bard of Darkwater, and Bard of Oldenfeld for his written and performed poetic works.
He can be reached for comments, questions, or article suggestions at Jacob.firstname.lastname@example.org