December twilight, and a waxing moon looks over my shoulder bored with another obligatory ode. But tonight I’ve got a date with Orion; its a long drive, but he’s got a cool dog and a fine bow––he lost that silly club years ago. When we’re done with Taurus––I owe him that––we’ll rove the starry woods, provoke the coyotes to howl, stalk the Great Bear then settle an old score with silver-tongue––Draco will be expecting us since he’s got something of ours.
A new student recently brought us a fine expression of traditional East African archery; it’s a bow crafted by a man of the Hadza people. The elegance of its effective simplicity, along with the deep cultural traditions which these people carry, favor a view that the Hadza bow bears a ‘source design.’ If so, it’s not off-mark to call it a Mother Bow. Such regard the bow inspires, that I carried it the other day on a walk around the Shire, introducing places of significance here. It’s clear that the bow is made for travel, and certainly expresses a lifeway shaped by the simple freedom of movement which can be difficult for the “modern westerner” to appreciate, restricted as we are by our mechanical modes and narrow (safe?) channels of travel.
To us the craftsman remains nameless, but the bow traveled a long distance in reaching our hands from his own; it’s a blessing on this place in accepting the grip. Tonight I’ll carry it beneath a Winter starfield, confident that Orion––that old hunter––will be duly impressed.
Orion stalks a chestnut fattened moon; his bow is tuned, his arrow nocked, he watches for the wide angle that invites the shaft of Ash home to the Mark––the One which only he knows. Shire deer drag their heavy shadows from the Autumn-thinned woods, into the moon-flooded meadow. Their obsidian eyes wordlessly comprehend the alabaster orb, as they breathe the intoxicating night air, scented with blended fragrances of musk and rust.
Bitter sweet October, you’re a melancholy artist who, stuck with a fit of madness, slung a bright harvest of color across the land. We’ll stroll through your galleries, remark on your genius, then misapprehend the blood price of your hand.