Getting Back into Archery

photo: Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Before this break, I would go to the archery range weekly for years. I loved it and hated it. I had some flow days where I couldn’t miss. I spent the rest of those years chasing those days. One simple motion. How hard can it be? Truth be told, outside of practicing regularly, I don’t know exactly why the flow days happen, or why they’re so hard to repeat.

The spider dances her web without knowing there are flies that will get caught in it. The fly, dancing nonchalantly on a sunbeam gets caught without knowing what lies in store. But through both of them “It” dances. So, too, the archer hits the target without having aimed-more I cannot say.

Eugen Herrigel

Archery always looked amazing to me. I’ve always loved the depiction of arrows flying in movies. A formidable weapon from a long distance, yet a simple tool. I was hooked when I found the range. As I watched the people practicing, the sound of the string grabbed me. The violence of the strings thrum, delay, then the thud of the arrow being buried in the hay. It didn’t sound like that on TV. The sound surprised me.

Looking at my closet, my bow sits behind the door. That bag has been gathering dust. I woke up today and concluded that today will be my first day back. I’m nervous and excited.

A quick montage of me setting up my recurve bow for some practice

It went better than I thought. The gym rooftop range that I go to had space this morning. Although the range maxes out at 30 meters, I stuck to 15 Meters today. I didn’t miss the hay, but obviously, I was rusty. My usual 5-minute bow setup took me about 20 minutes today. Although, who am I kidding, I’ve never timed my setup before. But that is something I’ll begin doing. Today was deliberate and mechanical. I will continue smoothing myself out. I will again find that flow. Or. maybe I should just show up and let myself fall into the occasional flow, with hopes of more visits to that smooth state.

The more a human being feels himself a self, tries to intensify this self and reach a never-attainable perfection, the more drastically he steps out of the center of being. (Eugen Herrigel)

Tahric Finn

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