Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

A-Peer-Within-art - 6/4/00


"A Peer Within" by Constance de LaRose.


NOTE: See also the files: Fndng-T-Dream-art, SCA-The-Dream-msg, SCA-reasons-msg, magic-moments-msg, Getting-an-AoA-art, The-Peerage-msg, The-Blow-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:



Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


                              Thank you,

                                   Mark S. Harris

                                   AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                        stefan at florilegium.org                                         




by Constance de LaRose


What is a peer?  What makes one person a peer and another one not?  


Is it the fancy white belt? Or the pretty gold chains and necklaces?  Is it the right sized head to wear a crown or coronet?


How does a person become a peer?  Is it knowing the right people?  Is it from doing all the work?  Or maybe being more talented at something than other people?  


They all have a very pretty piece of paper that says they are peers.  Did that paper make them peers?  Did it suddenly, magically change them in the blink of an eye?


Most of us, reading the above questions boldly, would answer a resounding ŇnoÓ and "of course not".  So we all know what a peer isnŐt.  We all know what doesnŐt make a peer.  But what is it about these people that does make them peers?


The secret (as with most secrets) comes from within.  Watch the best of the peers carefully and you can see what makes them different.  Watch carefully, for the best just do it naturally.  No need to flaunt it for, to them, this is just the way things are and should be.


Watch Mary Amanda Fairchild.  "Well sure", you say, Ňbut look how talented she isÓ.  Yes, she is talented.  But watch how she uses that talent.  I watched her at the last coronation.  On Saturday the musicians guild provided music for coronation and court.  I am sure that Mary Amanda could have directed the guild through it all.  I am equally sure that she could have designated only one or two additional performers to direct.  Yet, watching carefully, I noticed that almost every member had a chance to direct.  Would the performance have been better with only Mary Amanda directing?  Possibly, and yet, she looked to the future of the guild and what was best for it's members first.  She gave each member a chance to learn and grow.  A moment to shine, a moment in the spotlight.  I am sure that they are all better for the experience.  The barony and kingdom will be blessed with a guild in which all members are constantly learning and becoming better.  Not much spotlight for Mary Amanda, but spotlight doesnŐt make a peer.  


Watch Baron Niccolo.  Last week at fighter practice, I watched him laboriously gather folks young and old together to learn how to dance.  When he had a small group gathered, there was one young lady without a partner.  So he became her partner.  For the better part of an hour he showed them how to dance several medieval dances.  It was lovely to watch and certainly added to the atmosphere. But, that is really nothing special.  After all, many people do that sort of thing.  Look more closely yet.  Baron Niccolo had an injured leg that day.  I donŐt know what the injury was, and it would take an eagle eye to have caught it, so well did he hide it.  He did some stretching exercises prior to starting.  And during the dancing you could occasionally catch a pain filled wince.  But he noticed that his partner had noticed the wincing and covered it with a smile.  After that you could only see the pain if you looked carefully at his eyes.  A lesser person might have said, people arenŐt interested tonight, and just skipped the dance instruction for the evening.  A lesser person might have just shown the students the steps and then let them do the dancing.  Some one less than a peer might have stopped at the easy dance steps, instead of going on to the intricate footwork in the Italian version of the dance.  But it takes a peer to place concern for the young lady and her enjoyment of the dance above his own pain.  It took a peer to make her beautiful and graceful to all who watched, because you could see that he saw the beauty and grace within.


One of the best things about the SCA is the opportunity to learn how to be better than we are within.  We have this opportunity because we have so many grand examples about us at every gathering.  Do you want to become better?  Then look around you at the next gathering you attend.  Watch the lady with a beautiful lap harp who is allowing a seven year old girl to touch it and strum it and showing her how to play a simple tune.  Watch the drummer who walks apart from the fun of the group and the beautiful dancer so he can privately help the newcomer whose fingers are itching to pound some hide.  Watch the Queen whose toes are tapping with a wish to dance as she sits at a table behind a screen and illuminates an Award of Arms instead.


For what truly makes a peer isnŐt talent or tough hide or a piece of paper.  It is a willingness to put otherŐs enjoyment at least equal to, and often ahead of, your own.  It is a desire to pass on your knowledge and talents to those who would wish to learn.  It is the ability to do this with a smile on your face and a kind word of encouragement on your tongue.  It is a caring about the SCA and the people in it.



Copyright 2000 by Debbie Snyder, 4744 W. Crestmoor Ct, West Jordan, Ut  84088.

<LadyPDC at aol.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related

publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org