I’m really feeling the medieval.
After a month long project at school, we wrapped up the topic with an excursion to a nearby 12th century castle. By “we” I mean the entire school – so 41 kids and 5 teachers. Starting at the city center, we worked our way slowly up the side of the dormant volcano, stopping along the way to look at an old gothic church and passing through various gates in those sections of the ancient city walls that are still standing. We passed by the ruins of a second castle, a victim of its owner’s lost bloody feud with his own brother residing in the larger castle higher up. We watched falcons, eagles, owls and other birds of prey stretching their wings as they circled above us.
On reaching the castle gate drawbridge, we were surprised to look down and see pigs running around in the empty moat. We joked that they were there to protect the castle and dubbed them “The Pigs of the Round Table”. We gave them names like “Sir Porker” and “Sir Oink”. (And I am fairly sure that some of the younger kids actually believed they were swine knights trained for battle.) Then the older kids went inside to see the rooms as well as exhibitions of medieval weaponry, torture devices, and the area’s historic witch trials (which happened later in the 1600s.) One of the victims – the Flower Witch – was a favorite servant in this very castle and might have been accused as a way of exacting revenge on the castle’s powerful owner – a Lady referred to as the “Gallerin”.
We teachers were a bit worried how the kids would react to the many displays of primitive brutality and persecution, but they were pretty cool about it all. The only thing that really upset (a few of) them was not being allowed to buy candy and expensive souvenirs ( = cheap junk) in the tourist trap store on the way out. There were tears. Suddenly the whole day was ruined! Luckily, a popsicle for everyone at the end of the field trip repaired those damaged souls. In the end, everyone agreed it had been a great day.
It was a great day.
For me it was the highlight in what, otherwise, has been something of a gristmill week – a long relentless string of 12, 13, even 14 hour work days. That awful book I had to proofread came together with a parent-teacher conference day and the restart of my university course to create the perfect storm.
Today was the last day in that string. After I picked my younger daughter up from her piano lesson – all obligations would cease and a gloriously long weekend would spread out before me. (Monday is a holiday and Tuesday is free too, because . . . . . . . . Austria.)
My subconscious also knew that this moment was coming. As I sat in the music school, waiting, the signs of the coming crash began to appear. My body started yelling at my mind, saying “We are in our 50s for heaven’s sake! We can’t take this pace anymore (and we shouldn’t have to!)” My mind found it harder and harder to overhear. It resented how all this work had interfered with my blogging habit and was stubbornly looking forward to catching up with the Reader . . .
But something tells me it will be matter over mind this time – that, as a fellow blogger put it, a brick wall is speeding uncontrollably in my direction. I fear the Reader will have to wait yet another day because I will be spending tomorrow with the couch, the pukey bowl, and the remote control.