I think everyone has favorites of something. Mine, well I seem to have a lot. Most everyone who knows me knows I love being barefoot all the time, I love tea, I love seals and elephants (I still dream of having some real elephants roaming around in my backyard), I love to cook, I love the ocean, I love my dogs and cats, of course I love my son. The list goes on and on. But perhaps a little known fact about me is that I love to sword fight. Yup, with real live swords.
To me, swords are elegant. They’re versatile. They’re way cool. They become a beautiful, artistic movement if done well; a dance of sorts between swordsman and sword. But you know, they also hurt when they hit you.
So let me tell you a little story.
When I first learned to sword fight, I found that I took to it quite naturally. My son and I would spar in the back yard with our fighting sticks. He would teach me the moves and we would go round and round. After a time, a friend of mine made me my very own sword. It’s absolutely beautiful. She’s named Oceana, and she’s powerful. She was enchanted by the full moon, made from the wood of a 200 year old oak tree and steel that was tempered over a special fire.
Well, the blacksmith who created her came over to give me a lesson. There we were, in the backyard, practicing moves with real live weapons. It was April and there was still some snow on the ground. It was a sunny day. All was right with the world.
He decided, “Let’s try something new. I’m going to come at you with two weapons, one in each hand”
“Ummmm, okay?” I said.
So there he was, a sword in one hand and an ax in the other. He would swing one around in a semicircle and I would hit it, then he would swing the other one around and I would hit that. I was in a constant state of being on the defensive. As I was getting the hang of it, he started going faster and faster. A part of me felt like mentally he went somewhere else, like he was reliving fighting in a battle from long ago. But I kept on going. He came at me with the ax and I did the one thing you should never ever do…duck. But duck I did.
I dropped to the ground but I didn’t fall, I came down to one bent knee. I still had my sword in my hand. I got back up and was like “What the??” I was mad. Mad I got hit, but so excited I didn’t drop my sword. Cardinal rule is you never drop your weapon. I went to go after him and he just stood there. I said “C’mon, you can’t just stand there. I didn’t drop my sword! We’re not done yet!”
Then I felt something go in my eye. I always have hair dropping in my face, so I thought it was that and I blew it away. I felt it again. I was getting annoyed. Then I looked down in the snow. There was all of this blood in the snow. I looked up at him. I looked down at the snow. It dawned on me that it was MY blood. I looked at him and yelled, “Did you hit me?? What the heck?? Did you really just hit me in the head??”
“Ian, go get your mom a towel, QUICK!”
Ian ran in and got me a towel, came back out and I stuck in on my head.
By this time I had blood pouring out of my head. It was staining the snow. I was mad. I felt totally fine but man, was I mad. Not mad at him mind you, but mad that I ducked and got hit.
Once it was clear that I was okay, Ian piped up, “Mom, I have to tell you. You looked SO epic with the blood pouring out of your head and down your face into the snow. You looked like a real warrior Mom. That was cool!” Just move me into the cool mom category for life now.
After a week or so I went to the doctor’s just to have her check it out. Not only did I have a gash (it healed up beautifully without a single stitch), but I had a concussion and an actual mark on my skull as discovered in the MRI.
I told her step by step the whole story of what had happened. When I was done with my story she stared at me in disbelief and said “You know, you could have lost an eye.”
Me: “Yah, but I didn’t”, I said with my finger pointed in the air and a big grin on my face.
Her: “Well you could have died you know.”
Me: “Yah, but I didn’t”, still with my finger pointed in the air and smiling like the Cheshire Cat.
She shook her head at me, not quite knowing what to say or how to handle this one. So she finally smiled and simply said, “Just be more careful next time, okay??”
So next time you see me, you may notice the scar and dent to the right of my right eye. It comes with a good story, as all good scars usually do. My lesson learned and one I pass on to you: when you’re sword fighting, fight all instincts and don’t duck…and don’t ever drop your sword.