Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wenches and Warlocks

I walked past the old farm house down the one lane grass road. It was a warm, late spring afternoon. Storm clouds loomed in the distance. The lane way narrowed as it twisted and turned between fields of tall grass and young saplings. The once fertile farmland was being reclaimed by the wild. The road seemed to go on forever. Did this legendary village of Thornhill I'd heard of actually exist? As I made my way around the next bend, I began to hear voices of a strange and ancient dialect. Tales of Knights and dragons danced through my imagination. I came upon two men where the grass lane split in two. They appeared to have been delivered straight from the middle ages. As if they knew my destination, they pointed the direction I should follow without a single word spoken. A few hundred feet later, I came upon Thornhill, a village of makeshift structures and gardens well off the beaten path. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I stepped through a portal to 12th century England.

But alas, I did know better. I was on the property of Monroe Payne, the Vice President of the Finger Lakes section of the Professional Photographer's Society of New York, as well as an avid member of a role playing group reenacting a bygone era. For the last 18 years, Monroe has transformed his property from farmland to a mythical village called Thornhill, not too far from Ithaca. We had our monthly FLPPSNY meeting there yesterday, along with about a dozen of Monroe's role playing friends who brought us on an adventure through the woods surrounding the village. Along the way we came across all types of characters who would interact with our tour guides as we photographed the story as it unfolded. When we were done, we had a feast of foul and swine, and store bought apple pie.

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