Friday, December 4, 2009

He Dreamed a Dream

Leif was a dreamer who dreamed of being a hero, a warrior. Someone who discovered him on Facebook or in this blog and asked to befriend him after death wrote to me that Leif would have liked this blog, that Vikings wanted the songs of their deeds and lives to be sung, to be remembered.

Leif's persona in the Society for Creative Anachronism, SCA, was a Viking pirate. For years SCA was an important part of his life, and he reveled in dressing in his garb, improving his armor and weaponry over the years. He made rattan weapons to fight with and fought many a Sunday battle in the Manhattan City Park (in Manhattan, Kansas), wearing an incredible amount of weight, especially toward this end of the time he lived there when he had the fifty-pound chain mail shirt he made. Several times I went to watch him and take pictures.

He dreamed of being the kind of hero he could perhaps have been in an earlier age, and surrounded himself with both ancient and thoroughly modern weaponry.

I was looking online for information about the Viking songs and sagas and was surprised to discover that they have fragments of ancient Viking songs written in a kind of musical notation using runes, and one site showed both the old runic notation and a modern translation of it. The title of the songs was so completely appropriate, "I Dreamed a Dream," so I decided to try to record it with GarageBand. I wish I had the time and talent to add accompaniment to it, though I have no idea what the Viking sound would have been, beyond the tune. I wonder, too, what the rest of the words were, and whether they, too, would have fit Leif.

The photos I put with the song are ones Leif took of himself on August 7, 2003 when he had just purchased his new armor. He was posing in the living room of the house at 710 N. Ninth Street in Manhattan, Kansas, where he was living at the time. It was a good time for him. I think he had at least somewhat recovered from the breakup of his marriage, he had graduated from Kansas State University that May, and was looking forward to a brighter future. He has just gotten a job at Sykes, which no longer has a call center in Manhattan. Little did he know how his life was about to change, first for the better, as he was so ecstatically in love beginning a couple of months later, and then dashed to pieces when the she left him. I think the period from about May 2003 to February 2004 was one of the happiest of his life, and it shows in his looks. He was so handsome then.

So, my Viking son, although I do not sing your exploits, I do write them and give them to the world.

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