Half Way Point, Butterfly Wings, and Grains of Sand.
Battlefield Cant’s Kickstarter has reached the 50% mark in its first week. I’m so excited. This week has been wonderful seeing people who believe in the project and me express this by backing the project. Every time I would hit refresh on my browser, a thrill would go through me and more times than not, a new backer would show. Exciting!
So a few things have been going through me head, let me share this thought. For those that know me, they know I’m an avid paintballer. Our team participates in a yearly event called, ION, short for “Invasion of Normandy”. It’s where 4,000 paintballers play a kind of reenactment of… you guessed it, the landings at Normandy. Paintball is exciting, but when you start the game from a wooden prop “Higgens” boat and have to cross a field facing 2,000 dug in German players it is exhilarating. I have the honor of being a “Company Commander” and this gives me access to the inside track of the game by being part of a command structure of about 16 players. We are all passionate, and a great group of players with years of experience to lead the allies to certain victory against the Germans. While planning the game, I wanted to bestow something to this dedicated group of commanders and thought of grabbing some sand from the landing beaches when I made my planned trip. A totem/token to help guide us while we played the game, and to remind us that 67 years ago, it was no game, yet a battle for life and death with countries and races hanging in the balance.
So I bought zipper baggies in Carentan and took samples of sand from Omaha and Utah beach. As I reverently filled them kneeling in the sand my mind wandered to how I could integrate them with the photographs. Put them in the emulsion? Glue them to the frames? And a few more dumb ideas to this mix that I will spare you. In the end, glass vials containing the sand would win out. It was a small idea, a little thing. Sometimes little things have a way of turning into big things, and my small gesture of giving the sand to my fellow Company Commanders for a game played at Skirmish in Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania turned out much larger, bigger than I supposed.
I received much gratitude from the lucky 16 who got the vials, and I also hooked up our scout, Jake, 16 years old. All weekend I had people walking up to me seeing if I had a few more vials of sand hiding in our campsite. A good number of the Commanders were x-military and for them, it held a special place in their hearts. One guy got teary eyed as we discussed what it was like to shoot film on the beaches 67 years after guns were fired.
I got an email later about NPR being at the game and writing a short piece on the games uniqueness. I listened to the audio file from “all things considered” and it had interviews from key people at ION. Our beloved XO, Nyxx Valor was explaining how serious some people take the game, and she mentioned the vial of sand in a reverent manner. The night before she was surprised by me when I gifted the command with the sand, and what I thought was a small gesture, reverberated its way to the air waves and hearts of many more than I had imagined it would.
The ordinary can become extraordinary, grains of sand transform to objects of reverence, day dreams into actions, small things can take on a life of their own, and become much larger then the idea they were born of. This is our greatest ability in our humanity, the ability to do things bigger than us, when every grain of sand matters. We soar when butterfly wings bring rains, when actions rise above intentions, when we create positive influences by the simplest of thoughts and gestures.
Thank you for supporting the project thus far, or consider supporting.
August 7th, New York City.
Read the NPR article here: