Summer pell work and the coming of Fall...

As I've written many times on the Creative Dungeoneering blog, I tend to take a bit of a hiatus during the spring, summer, and to some extent fall.
Most "creative" work takes place during our long winters here, from roughly October through May, and the dark skies, rain, snow, wind, and general nasty conditions of Utah's western mountains makes for the perfect backdrop to an entire season of creative endeavors.

But often times before that fall breeze brings with it the mysterious callings of creativity and old historical musings, long before the heat of summer passes. It's usually under gray skies, mysterious weather, or a full moon, but every so often, that strange voice, as artist Loreena McKennitt phrases it in her song "The Old ways" call me home.

During the more active summer season, I find that this odd, esoteric tingling can often times be satisfied through mixing up my race training a bit with does of regular cross training, of the more historical variety.

Two to three times per week I practice for an hour to two hours a day with sword, pole arm, florentine, sword and shield, or as in the case of last week, axe and shield. And as a competitive cyclist, working out the arms with a martial weapon is a workout that brings a new definition to the word pain. Known for large arms we are not.

Such was the case last week where after a good deal of study on historical Anglo-Saxon Axe and Shield training, I incorporated heavy wooden shield and hand axe training into my regular pell routine. Not only did this provide some expertise with new weapon types, but it allowed me to feel at one with my historical ancestors in a brief moment of mental dreaming as I exercised both my muscles and my imagination simultaneously.

The axe was handmade from a standard cheap home depot variety, but with a heavy steel head, sharpened and blackened for a more historical look and feel. The carved wooden handle was then inscribed with anglo-taxon runes, and wrapped in a leather tie for grip. Not a masterpiece by any means, but it looks the part and is fun to practice with.

The round shield is a heavy, full wood shield double wrapped and lined with a bolted brass edge. Leather handles are riveted to the inside with a fur padded arm rest and extra support. Two straps, fore and hand wrap the arm and provide a stable and well balanced grip and feel.

I once heard someone say that a round shield was far easier to use than a kite or traditional heater style shield, and I have found that to be the case, although my more romantic notions still prefer the standard templar kite shield.

I guess my quick point here is that sometimes schedules, and even weather and lifestyle don't always meet up with the voices in out head that come calling, so we may have to adjust how we can answer their call, no matter the season.

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