- Vol. 10
- Chapter 03
The artist has frozen a moment in time for the knight pushed off of his horse, the moment his opponent’s lance has unseated him before his armor-encumbered body clangs and clatters on the ground. In this unique moment when his only injury is simply to his pride, I wonder what is going on behind his visor?
Is his entire life flashing before his eyes as one anticipating death—his time as a page, and squire, learning to ride, other tournaments, lady loves, the bet he made on this joust?
Or perhaps he is asking himself questions: “Will my horse go running on, dragging me if I cannot pull my foot out of the stirrup? Or did I train this beast horse well enough so that he will come to a sudden stop when he realizes my weight is no longer pressing down on the saddle? How quickly will my squire and others reach my side? Just how hard is the floor of this arena?”
He has his arm out. I wonder if he thinks what might occur by using the arm to take the brunt of the fall. Is he saying to himself: “If I destroy my sword arm by falling on it how will I joust again, fight again? If I cannot joust or fight, what will be my role in the courts?”
Or in this moment of suspended action, is he thinking about the lady love whose patterned silks he vaunts? Does he wonder: “Will she now desert me?” Will her healing ministrations bring us closer?”
I wonder if perhaps this is an early flip book. Will a fanning of pages yield a sense of action and the answers to all Knight’s questions and mine? Are the answers to his questions and mine simply a split second away on the next page?
Even if the answers to his dilemma are resolved with the movement of a bit of paper, I think about the many times I’ve felt embarrassment. Usually actual pain follows so rapidly there’s no time to consider the harm to come.
If I had the luxury of a freeze frame, I’d likely wish for a mulligan, a chance to start over and avoid injury. However, even in a flip book, mulligans are not a possibility. So, my hope for this knight in shining armor (and for myself in similar moments) is that whatever pain we imagine in the midair moment of freeze frame, between unseating and hitting the ground, will be less than anticipated and that he (and I ) will be restored to ride and fight again.