Friday, November 8, 2013

Firsts: Traditional Archery

Well, it was a first when I started writing this post. Somehow it never got published, though, so I think it's time to revamp it a bit. But it's never easy to write about something so close to your heart as archery has grown to mine. Honestly, I don't know how I've managed without it for so long.
I still don't know if it's a hobby, a sport, an art or a lifestyle. Hard to tell since archery means so many different things to different people. I guess for us it's a bit of everything, it has come to have a place in everything we do. I can't really explain why or how this came to be, but I'll try my best to give some account of the magic that it's been playing on us.

So we jumped into it completely unwittingly, and we had no idea it would take such a hold in our life. I offered my husband a variety of things to pick from as a gift for his 30th birthday. I put together several very different things from gadgets to trips to activities, and he finally settled on an introductory archery class. I started looking and quickly realized just how many ways there are to go about it. I soon found the approach I was looking for, the one I thought would be closest to what my husband would like this experience to be. I called a local archer with a very promising homepage and we fixed a date.

And there we were, all nervous and shy, not really knowing what to expect. It was a blast. Just the memory of that day sends shivers down my back. It was a true first. We discovered so many things hidden in us, talents and instincts unpolished an untouched by daily life, the concentrated calm and beastly energy all culminating in a single draw and release... It was magic and we didn't even know we were hooked. No, it was like being lost in a forgotten world within, one with the beast and ultimate consciousness at the same time. I felt the history of mankind flowing through my veins and my own drained from me in a flash. It's still that emptiness full of completion that draws me to archery every time, and I don't think I could ever let go of the bow again.

The four hours it lasted flew by unnoticed and, though we were exhausted, we felt also reborn. This first session gave us enough of a base that we could go and buy our own equipment, even practice a bit. We did take another class a month or so later, to have our movements and form improved on, and since then we've been shooting most every week. Now we're joining one of the local clubs, and I must say it's been a journey full of excitement and wonders. We've found a sport and a hobby, we've found friends, and we rediscovered a bit of ourselves.

Instinctive archery has changed our life in so many ways, it's difficult to explain. We're working out more often than ever (gosh, I'm getting muscular!), and we're outdoors so much, whatever the weather! While hiking took us out quite often, wind and rain managed to keep us in in the past. No more. A little bad weather does nothing to diminish our enthusiasm to shoot a few hours, and I must say we've shot in all sorts of weather since we started out. We've also visited several archery 'paths', in the most beautiful areas (where you can walk dedicated paths in a forest shooting at real size animal targets made of a special type of foam), and have had so much fun! We've also made some amazing friends along the way, boosting my hubby's desire and confidence to speak French. We've learned so much about ourselves.

All in all, it's been one heck of an adventure, and it hasn't gone a bit staler through the past few months. I'm about to order my second bow (my first one now being too light for my enormous muscles and sheer efficiency =D), and I can't wait to go shooting again this weekend.

If you happen to have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments, I'll be happy to help. ;)

See you in the forest, guys! ;)


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