Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Leif in SCA Helmet & Chain Mail - April 2003 - Age 28
I'll close the SCA chapters of this blog with these two striking photos, both self portraits taken by Leif on April 29, 2003. He made the chain mail cowl and the chain mail on the lower end of the helmet.
To me, these are two pictures that tell a lot about the man and who he was. The knight, the warrior, a man who wanted to be a hero, and needed someone to be a hero for. There is a strong directness in the eyes of the man in the helmet, and a touching vulnerability in the man in th chain mail. They are both beautiful pictures of our handsome son, and again, ones we had not see while he was alive.
Tonight, Peter W. was watching a show about General Sherman and the Civil War while simultaneously researching the background of Sherman and others on the internet, on what had been Leif's laptop. It struck me that so many great military leaders had failed at civilian pursuits, as did General Sherman, but rose to become great leaders when entirely different skills were required.
Leif could have been like that, in a different place and a different time. He had incredibly good strategic skills and abilities, understood the art and rules of warfare. But, in his lifetime, in our time, he never had a chance to use those skills to protect those he loved. Though he did honorably serve his country, his profoundly brilliant mind was never given the opportunity to do the kind of planning and execution of which it was capable.
We like to think that in our "modern" world, we are beyond the need of the martial strategist, but if we look around us without our heads in the sand, we can see that is not so. People with skills and minds like Leif's are critical to our survival.
In another place and time, Leif might well have been the hero he dreamed of being. Perhaps he was, after all, really the knight Graeloch, somehow born into the wrong century.