Arrows and Rain

Rain can spoil an archer’s day, while conspiring with a writer’s muse.  Such was tournament day.  Decisions taken, plans made, grounds prepared, practice and practice on the Archer’s Green, as our intentions, like raised flags, came into sharp relief.  But rhythms more comprehensive than these prevail––sometimes dramatically––and so the geometry of one possibility, with all the effort to bring it forth, dissolves.  Disappointed, we’re humbly dismissed from the stage, hopefully with a measure of gratitude.

In dreamtime last night, I was with an archery student beside a stream pool.  I began to remove egg-blue stones from my quiver, preparing to place them into the water.  I paused while we considered how she could take them home to incubate, but it seemed untimely.  So into the pool the blue egg-stones returned.

“Not only is there an alchemy of sacrifice,                                                                           there’s also an alchemy of gratitude.”

LettingGo

Legacy

We’ve been several years sharing archery inspired by Old-World traditions, but have remained keenly aware of a deeper lore embedded in the ground beneath our feet. A beloved teacher once remarked that memory is retained in the crystalline structure of a place; I often walk the land meditating on the meaning of these words. I’ll listen for it in the overhead flight of Sandhill Cranes plying their great wings south; I’ll listen for it in the deep-throated call of a Great-horned Owl urging courtship to open the winter door to posterity; I’ll watch for it in the northern swing of shadows bearing the intensity of December’s waning sun, and celebrate it when a new archer finds the rhythm of a free arrow sailing to his mark.

Sometimes a mark is not what we intend, and so it was that while searching for a wayward arrow, another came to hand. In the sandy bed beneath a clear riffle of Barrett’s Spring, which enters at the northern border of the Shire, an arrow point crafted of dark stone seemed placed for finding. Although 800-years or more may span between this point and those we use––often lose––in the moment held a legacy is bridged, point to point.

Legacy
Note an affinity of color and weight.

Cast by an ancient archer, this crystalline legacy hits the mark; a tactile reminder, leaving me humbled and honored. Hafted to a new shaft cut from the native-cane bed along Noketchee Creek, and buoyed with the curve of fletchings dropped from the wings of ambling gobblers, this arrow is ready for flight. On the other hand, my manufactured point, left in the same spring, would be useless in under a year.