So, last thing I need is another new hobby, yea?
I mean, I can barely keep up with the ones I already have. Last time I finished a knitting project was literally last year, my photo albums have been sitting neglected for months, my sketchbook is frighteningly bare – as are my nails, and all I ever do is bitch about how little time I have to pursue anything “for fun.” So yea. Last thing I need is yet another hobby to complain about not having time to do.
Well, I wish someone would tell my brain that. Because I guess I’m an archer now.
How did this happen? Well, I’m not entirely sure.
I mean, I’ve always been interested by archery. I love watching archery competitions on TV and have always been fascinated by archery as it’s utilized in warfare. It’s an interest that’s only gotten easier to have in recent years what with the outpouring of female archers in pop culture (Katniss Everdeen, Merida, idk some other people I’m sure).
And my dad has this old recurve bow. We’re not quite sure where it came from. His father had been quite the collector/scavenger and from time to time stuff would just “show up” at our house. Usually after my grandmother would have a fit about him bringing in more stuff, I think. That’s how we ended up with a garage full of industrial grade tools, two free riding mowers, a massive highway sign, and a cement mixer.
The bow was also one of those things that just kind of showed up one day. We think it might have been my great aunt’s? Maybe?
As kids my brother and I used to play with it a bit. We weren’t strong enough to pull it back full draw, so we used to shoot practice arrows off our porch into a paper bag filled with cardboard bits. The arrows never went more than like 10 feet. But it was fun.
Once we started to get bigger (meaning the arrows started to go further – but we still didn’t quite have the strength needed for accuracy), and the bow string started to get more frayed and old we kind of put the bow away and forgot about it. My father couldn’t find anywhere in the area to get a new string or get us any proper training – all the archery ranges and shops at the time were all compound bow places – so it got unstrung, and sat in its box for the next, oh I don’t know… decade maybe? 15 years? Something like that.
Well this summer, we dragged it back out. Jim had bought a bow of his own, already being into target shooting with guns (his family hunts), and between those two things he found a shop in the area that does deal in recurve bows. So I dragged out our old bow, interested to see if it even was still safe to use after all these years of a) already being old, and b) sitting in a box in our basement.
Well, turns out it is. And turns out it’s actually a lot older than we thought (1964) and a lot nicer than we thought (Bear Archery still sells that model, and it’s like a $350-$400 bow now, to say nothing of the antique ones). Ours isn’t worth much as a collectors item, since somewhere along the line someone drilled holes for a sight, but it’s still perfectly functional and safe to use once I bought a new string.
So I started using it.
And I seriously love it, you guys. It’s fun, and challenging, and empowering… and I’m not half bad at it given that I haven’t had literally any instruction other than Youtube. It also makes me feel really connected to history – a feeling that’s very hard do describe in words, but that manifests itself in an addictive rush every time I pull back the bow string and let an arrow fly.
So yea, I guess I’m an archer now?
Have you all picked up any new, ill-advised hobbies lately?
(Photos of bow markings taken before it was properly cleaned and serviced – don’t mind the dust!)