That we are of one blood, you and I
That he have cried peace to all
And claimed kinship with every living thing
That we hate war, sloth and greed
And love fellowship
And that we will go singing to the fashioning of a new world
It's one of the first things you learn. Bookended as it usually is with "ish... ash... osh..." (we used to say "HOW" as well, before that was banned for political correctness; I still say it, though!), the Envoi is one of the first things you learn. Throughout Woodcraft's history, including the last 24 years of my life since I got involved as a young ILB, this idea of the fashioning of a new world comes up again and again. It's an admirable thing - even for someone who isn't an idealist.
Where's our new world? And, crucially, what makes it new?
I was advised, in my first year of university, to seek out Woodcraft as a way of (re)connecting with something that would make me happy (as if that's a thing, somehow). I didn't find any groups near where I was, but I did make that connection, and finding that there was something there I'd lost, I dived in headfirst - so far into the red, yellow and green pool that it rapidly provided the points of the clock around which the year revolved - a spring event, a summer one, an autumn one and one filling in the pointless void between Christmas and New Year. I loved every second of it.
It's only after looking back on it that I realise.
My friends showed me the way in. I ate dumplings made with too much flour, sang in Danish about how there wouldn't be enough pussy for me, and played card games with rules I didn't understand. I was a living statue, paid in coffee beans, and got my trousers stitched up after falling into a ditch and ripping them. I sang songs about bestiality and romantic zombies next to a flickering bonfire. I left romantic notes for the girl I had a crush on, hoping she'd work out that it was me. I wrapped duct tape around a guy's mouth and demanded more tape once I realised I could still hear his voice. I wrote things down, took photos, wrote about bits that I remembered, and leapt to my feet, yelling, "GO JOHNNY GO GO GO GO CLUBS!"
And the sex.
I didn't have any sex. I wasn't brave enough (or attractive enough). I only ever kissed one person, and she was drunk. But, amongst it all, I was both stunned and gleeful at how liberated everyone seemed. Lots of people were having sex. There were couples, of course; couples form in all sorts of social circles and Woodcraft is no exception to that - you can fashion a new world better together. But then there were the random hookups - the bits where you walk into a room and find your mate hanging onto the pipe on the wall laughing because he's walked in on two people going at it in a sleeping bag. The bit where everyone's on the dance floor to Boulevard of Broken Dreams and a very hot, very drunk girl starts throwing herself at the guy with the floppy blonde hair; they're not seen again until next morning.
It's safe to say that this is where my fantasy about having sex in a tent comes from.
When I look back at those days, it comes to me like a bolt out of the green. I spent those times in a kind of euphoria, surrounded by friends who weren't just friends, but friends who shared with me their world of liberation - spiritual, cultural, physical, ideological and sexual. And, without that, I wouldn't have felt open enough about sex to start talking about it as freely as I am now.
We weren't just fashioning a new world. We were living in it.
click the image for this week's prompt