|APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding|
|Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing|
|Memory and desire, stirring|
|Dull roots with spring rain.|
Indeed. Our sunny moments are interspersed with popcorn snow and wind that cuts to the bone:
Still, it is spring, and time to get on with those resolutions--such as rediscovering the joys of archery (and come September, bowhunting):
I owe this to my former student, Jana Robertson. As the daughter (she's named for Ishi's tribe) of famed bowyer Dick Robertson of Robertson Stykbow, she is of course a bowhuntress. Her example, along with some of my friends and other former students around Butte, Montana, was just the push I needed. Having bowhunted from c. 1970 to 1985 (and having shot varsity archery while at Drexel U), I knew my piles (arrow points) from my cocks (index feathers).
Growing up, the kids in my neighborhood often roved the fields and hills with bows. Some were homemade from a hickory stave, some were solid fiberglass from the hardware store. Arrows were whatever we could find and we shot 'til our fingers were sore. As I turned back to archery, these childhood memories became palpable.
Job one: find a bow. That was a fun task, and thanks to the miracle of EBay I found an excellent deal on a lightly used Martin Savannah longbow (reflex-deflex) design:
Job two: assemble arrows. Though I shot cheap hardware-store wooden arrows as a kid, in later years for bowhunting I used fiberglass and for target archery I used aluminum. But I wanted to do this as "traditional archery" and that meant wooden sticks, dipped with several coats of gasket laquer (with a homemade dip-tube and gasket):
Hung to dry in the shower with the vent fan on:
And fletched with "real" feathers, that led to job three: shooting. Results have been encouraging. When I do everything right (draw, anchor, aim, squeeze back, release, and follow through) groups are pretty good up to about 25 yards:
I still have a lot of practicing to do between now and hunting season. Stay posted.