It wasn't too long after I started attending Sherlockian weekends that I noticed a certain commonality. There was a certain pack of Sherlockians that, despite having no coordinated plan for such, always seemed to be at such events. "The Sherlockian gypsy caravan," I used to call them, before the word "gypsy" was something I learned was best avoided. They were the ones who found their community, the ones who knew the reward for the trip made it worth leaving home, had one the ability to do so.
And then the world changed.
Another nomadic community started to form, except these weren't folk who had to travel -- just folk comfortable enough with current tech and time to handle regular Zoom calls. New familiar faces started to show up time and again as the new regulars of Sherlockian gatherings. Others disappeared from sight. We saw what the online symposium looked like, not once, but twice, and we saw that about any Sherlockian society meeting could have the same level of content without taking up a whole day, and a whole lot of people went, "This works for me." And even though the community of Sherlockian Zoomers was created by the restrictions of the pandemic, it really seems like the best parts of it might just live on after it's over.
I suspect if one were to bring a new Sherlockian into our world at this point, they would think the three biggest Sherlockians in American are Steve Mason, Greg Ruby, and Rich Krisciunas. Each of them has made a splash into this new pond by just putting in the time and effort to get around and make some things happen, in their different ways. There are a lot of other folk, old Sherlockians (and hoo boy, have we all gone gray since I last saw so many folks!) and new (some really impressive new, too) that are starting to feel like the familiar folk of a new small town that we all suddenly found ourselves in.
It's so much like the old weekend workshop/symposium regulars, but the big difference here is that you get to see all these folks a lot more often. That old BSI buy-laws gag line "and there shall be no monthly meeting" has been tossed by the wayside by the sheer number of monthly meetings that any Sherlockian could easily put on their calendar.
It's funny that, since the Zoom is a substitute for local meetings, there are still local Sherlockians. Some folks will always be happy with the people they already knew, staying in touch with local friends. Having the ability to attend meetings all over the place doesn't mean it's for everyone, and there are always going to be gathering that fit some more than others. But when the pandemic plight is done, and the locals go back to meeting in person, I'm pretty certain that the community that connected across time zones and even oceans during this change will continue to evolve. It's just started working a little too well for many of us.
But who knows? It's been an invigorating time for a lot of old Sherlockian warhorses, in any case, and I hope the bonds that have been forming with this new sort of community continue on. This new group of Sherlockian nomads have a whole lot of future territory to explore.