Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Archery Is My Tattoo

All I have is the title.  Four lousy words that mean everything to me.  The story keeps playing itself out in my head.  It starts like this:  My wife wanted a Tattoo and I didn't, and like most men probably, I seized the chance to capitalize on a moment of weakness.  I'd been shopping for compound hunting bows lately, if the truth must be known, waiting for my chance to spring the question.  Not that I needed a racquet to get what I wanted, I just never seem to be around when the UPS guy shows up.
So I said, "Sure you can get a tattoo, if I can get a bow."
Thus began my sojourn into the ancient world of archery.
Not that I have anything against tattoos, well I must, seeing that I still don't have any.  Maybe I'm just waiting to get real old and wrinkly before I get tatted with some fresh ink.  Better than the other way around don't you think?  In either case, I had ulterior motives for wanting a bow;  I wanted to go deer hunting.
It's ridiculously ironic when I think about the single me vs. the married me.  When I was single I tried my best to convince every chic I met, and myself for that matter, that I was a caring and sensitive guy who wasn't just in it for my own needs:  time off for hunting and fishing mainly.  Now my wife has convinced me,  through a long and strategically masterful campaign, that I am in fact a totally insensitive, completely selfish dude who mainly just wants to be left alone to hunt and fish and the most wonderful thing about it all is that I'm OK with it  We have an understanding.  Still, it's important to maintain a certain level of sensitive discretion when pursuing ones passions.  And so I quoted her the base price for a ready to shoot Bear Charge: $399 and left the accessories to my own devices.
Though her Tattoo was much less expensive initially at $225, owning my own bow has been a priceless experience.  My bow, to me, is like a key that unlocks another realm.  A realm steeped in nature: breath-taking, awe-inspiring beauty and intense close-encounters with four-legged prey.
Archery has gently encouraged me to push my body and mind beyond their breaking points and to be still at the moment of life and death.  Archery has helped me tune my heartbeats to the rhythm of a gusty wind; has shown me paths that I had once passed before and didn't recognize; gives me peace in a world that likes to hurt; has stationed me squarely atop the food chain in a very real context and, just like a Tattoo, has engrained those primeval urges into my brainwaves, never to be erased or forgotten.  Unlike a Tattoo, I sense somehow that the lessons Archery has taught me are for eternity.  The Ink will die with the flesh, or possibly remain a symbol in a photograph.  The bow and arrow, while symbolic, are in their essence reality.  Energy stored and released.  Mass.  Gravity.  Physics in motion.  A hit or a miss.  Sustenance or starvation.  The ultimate clutch.