Now It is Another Winter

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A memory from my teenage years is of my neighbour Rob telling me about his interest in baseball cards. “They are irresistable,” he told me, speaking of the collectible baseball cards. “I have something else to tell you, too,” Rob said.

Rob knew I enjoyed the print materials for the popular game Dungeons & Dragons. It is a game for people interested in medieval fantasy, as in, for the sake of playing the game, to be part of a medieval society. Rob had something on the subject to tell me. He was getting interested in a game which is based on the idea of medieval magic in a contest of skill. The game is Magic: The Gathering.

Rob told me that day about the tournament-style card game, which is intended for two players, both with a deck of collector cards. The idea is that both players begin the game with twenty “life points,” which are like points in euchre or runs in the sport of baseball. Unlike those pastimes, which begin with zero points, the game of Magic typically begins with twenty points for each player, with the aim of reducing each other’s points to zero. The player to do this would win the game.

What was new about this game, though, Rob told me, is that the cards were not regular decks of hearts and diamonds, but instead specific cards designed for the game which bore the art of magic spells, and the description of the magic spells’ powers to do battle. It is a game of creatures and sorcery. Creatures, cards of the game with many specific designations, can be “summoned,” which in practical terms meant the cards could represent magic creatures. Sorcery cards can be played to produce effects that alter the play of the game.

The game of Magic represents a “gathering,” because the players often make decisions to play creature cards, which are, as I mentioned previously, cards that show pictures of magical creatures, and which can be sent on the “attack” to reduce the life points of the rival player. This is how the card game is a “gathering.” All manners of creatures can be introduced in the course of the game which is a highlight of the fun.

I think of this when I reflect on Friday’s WordPress photo challenge. I spent some of my time playing the game of Magic when I was in school. As my friends, including Rob, were interesting in the highly popular game, it was not just a gathering of cards but also a gathering of friends, a lot of fun. Friday’s poetry challenge is to present the theme of “gathering.” I am reminded that some of my time in school was spent enjoying the game of Magic.

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These days I’m not so much interested in medieval fantasy, but I know another kind of “gathering,” which can add cheer and which is also discussed this time of year, as Christmas arrives. It is the gathering of the faithful, to which, if you count yourself among the religious, you can relate. These days I participate in managing a small cemetery, which is tucked away behind a dilapidated old church where generations of churchgoers once assembled.

Religion was a staple of medieval times, and it is also a powerful influence on society. For my photos for Friday’s WordPress challenge, along with the spirit of yesterday’s new challenge, to introduce the idea of “now,” I am presenting simple photos of our church grounds. Christmas is a wonderful time, and there will be gatherings to remember what happened in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. It is a season of joy, and I am pleasantly surprised to see that the WordPress photo challenge is the subject of “gathering,” both because it reminds me of the game of Magic: The Gathering, and also that it is a clear indication to discuss faith and holiness. I feel that I am expressing the spirit of both Fridays’s “Gathering” challenge, and yesterday’s special “Now” challenge. If you like my entry in the WordPress challenge, feel free to click “like” on this post, and even to go ahead and follow my blog. Blogging is a pleasure of mine.

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