One of the things I missed this year, was going to the Tampa Bay Renaissance Festival, canceled due to Covid-19. While going through my jewelry box, I stumbled across a memento from a Ren Fest visit from 3 years ago.
It was a beautifully cool Sunday in April of 2017. I was recently divorced. My mother had passed just weeks before. I wasn't seeing anyone, and I was tired of staying at home grieving my mother's loss. I knew a change of scenery would do me good, so I headed to The Tampa Bay Ren Fest where I was looking forward to losing myself for a few hours.
While strolling the grounds, I stumbled across one of my favorite vendors, the Davinci Coin Press. The guy who makes custom coins and coin charms for necklaces. Festival go-ers select any 2 designs from the 100+ he offers, and then he hauls a 500 lb weight up about 5 ft in the air using a mechanical device designed by DaVinci, powered with a creaky hand crank. Once the weight is at the top, he let's go and allows "gravity" to deboss both sides of the coin with a tremendous earth shaking THUD. (This is video of my coin press guy, at another renaissance festival.)
What I love most about this booth is that the vendor is loaded with bad jokes, horrific puns, and smart ass answers to every question. And he delivers every line in the most vibrant and fun energy I've never seen anywhere else. "It's HAMMER TIME!" He follows his THUD with the bass beat from "U Can't Touch This."
I decided that I wanted a coin necklace to commemorate the rough patch I had just gotten through. I knew I wanted a butterfly on one side, as butterflies resembled "new beginnings." No longer married and no longer my mother's care-giver, I was in uncharted territory as to what to do with myself. I wanted a second side to my coin necklace, but I couldn't decide on what it should be. None of the other 99+ designs spoke to me. The vendor saw my dilemma and wasn't about to lose a sale as long as I was standing there. He quipped in his best Spice Girls tone of voice, "Tell me what you want, what you really really want." I crushed 3 years of pain and agony into a 30 second story. He just smiled, and said "Sounds like someone needs a lotus blossom! Through the mud, becomes something beautiful." A quick google search on my phone showed the lotus flower is one of the most ancient and deepest symbols of our planet. The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty.
YES! He was right. I had been through the mud, and now it was time for me to become something beautiful. "It's Hammer Time!" THUD!
3 years later, I was looking for a necklace to wear, and stumbled across the butterfly/lotus blossom charm. I've been wearing it to remind me that as ugly as Covid-19 is, something beautiful is coming from it. Families are spending more time together. People are helping others in times of need. Friends are reconnecting after years of separation because we were all "too busy." An entire world is experiencing a reality check as to what is truly important in life.
What beauty will come from your mud?