When I was twelve, I read Robin Hood.
I immersed myself into Sherwood Forrest, my heart pounding when the Sheriff of Nottingham tried to capture Robin and his Merry Men. I lay on my bed and daydreamed of running through the forest, one step ahead of the bad guys. But daydreams weren't enough.
Convinced I could train my younger sisters to be merry men and shoot apples off each other's heads, I devised a plan to build bows and arrows from the straight branches of a decorative bush and the Morning Glory vines that tangled down the hill behind our house.
Using our bare hands, we ripped and tore the branches and vines until we'd constructed bows and a quiver of arrows. I loaded a bow and released an arrow.
It fell inches from my feet.
Dejected, I picked up the arrow and studied it. It was straight, without a single waver to its length. But it didn't look like an arrow. It looked like a stick.
I don't know who suggested it, but one of us decided the arrow wouldn't fly because it wasn't sharp; something easily fixed with a pencil sharpener.
With arrows sharpened to a fine point, I loaded my bow and shot.
Hitting Becky in the eye.
And putting an end to my daydreams of being a champion archer.
Joseph and I got up early and headed drove forty minutes to a shooting range where we met a competitive traditional archer named Riley.
Riley was tall with a long graying ponytail. He looked as if he'd be as comfortable wearing leather jerkins as he was in his jeans. He pulled out a bow and gave us a lesson.
I learned how to string my bow, what each part of the bow is called, the history of archery, the difference between compound and traditional bows, how to load an arrow, and finally, after an hour long lesson in terminology, history, and safety, I got to fire an arrow.
It flew from the bow.
In my imagination, I pictured it flying straight and true to the center of the target. I pictured Riley's mouth dropping open and the awe in his voice as he told me I was a natural. I imagined the other archers looking at me in wonderment and muttering that they'd never seen anything like it.
As so often occurs when my imagination meets reality, I hit a wall.
And the banner.
And the curtains.
And the floor.
Still, I worked at it for an hour until, by the end of the lesson, I was hitting the target the majority of the time.
Joseph was able to shoot off an arrow, but the bow was a bit too heavy for him. Picture a long bow and you'll understand what he was working with.
Will I pursue archery and my dreams of robbing the rich to give to the poor?
I'm not sure. I do know I want to go shooting again. Soon.
I just need to figure out how to finance my endeavor. It's not a sport for the light of pocket.
39 minutes ago