Walking the list is an endurance exercise. Shield on left arm, solid lance in right hand, you start at one end of the list (joust rail) and walk steadily along the length of it. Shield must be up as it would for a joust pass, and the lance is lowered and (hopefully!) steady. When two of us do this exercise at the same time, we hit each other’s shields in the center. If we really want to work hard, we use what we call the ‘car door’ shield. It’s old, huge and astonishingly heavy. I was up to ten passes on foot with the car door last year. This year? meh…
I chatted with Chris for a while about School Days scenes which, somehow, I have been chosen to write. ::stomachknots:: He walked across the street with me to the site. It is so very strange seeing the site off-season. Ever since we’ve started doing School Days, I’ve become accustomed to seeing it in the spring. We have rehearsals there as well as a clean-up day preparatory to the invasion of kids. I know how the trees look in bud or early leaf. I know the scent of lilacs along Mystic’s Way, the glimmer of pale yellow daffodils against the blackened carpet of last year’s leaves.
What I do not know are bare branches against a grey sky heavy with impending rain. I do not know the winter-yellowed grass. I am not accustomed to the chill emptiness of the joust field, smooth and unbroken after six months of snow, of rain, of early nightfall and a pattern of stars I would not know had I been there to tip my head up to the midnight sky.
The car door was nowhere to be found. Chris and I poked around behind Roselawn, peeking into stalls piled with old hay and cracked buckets, shifting flags and decorative wooden signs, skirting muddy puddles to peer into the storage trailer… no luck. We trotted back across the street to fetch a heater shield Chris had in his office. I went back to the field alone, picked up a solid lance and began to walk. The ground along the rail had evened out; during the summer, the horses hooves wear down a track on either side. My shoes sunk a bit into the spongy mix of sand and dirt. Near the end of the rail, my right shoulder began to burn. I hefted the lance up, lifted it in the signal we use to show our readiness for a pass, lowered the tip and began the second pass. By the third, my wrist was burning. The fourth was absolutely uncomfortable. Gritting my teeth, I raised the lance, lowered it far less steadily than I had on the first go, and went for the fifth.
And that was it. It was all I could do, and I didn’t do them all with the best of form. I’ll be heading up to do it again next week. I need to get in shape for this NOW. I’m not as strong as the guys. This I know. I am not as sturdily built. I need to make up for that in any way I can, and getting my ass up there to build up my muscle and endurance anew is one answer.
I put the lance away and, carrying the shield, walked over to the Robin Hood Bridge. The water in the lake was high after three days of rain. I looked out over the wind-stirred water and fell into Marian-thoughts. After a while, the chill and damp sent me on my way back to the offices. I gave Chris his shield and a kiss goodbye and headed for home.
Still aghast at my out-of-shapeness, I ran two and a half miles on the treadmill. Jiggling belly and thighs were admittedly disheartening. gah.
I’m off to do laundry and have a nice soak with the snazzy chamomile/almond oil/more nice stuff mixture I picked up today.