The illogic of logic ....
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Over the river & through the woods to ....
I had thought I would do just one post this month. That is why the last one was so long. Three segments plus the photograph and its lengthy cutline = a month's worth in a single post. But, my fingers got the better of me again. They just start typing at times, no matter what I think or want. So, here is another post for December. You will note the assorted archery gear on the table. My senses are confused. I wish to be using them, but this hardly is the appropriate time of the year in my part of the world. And, as I often do, I am tying my archery thoughts in with the novel and subsequent film, "Deliverance," by James Dickey. I have written posts about Dickey and his masterpiece in the past. But, to return to the topic: A few days ago, I was asked to go on a mountain hike this spring. My reply was, "Make it a river canoe trip and I will consider it." This has been on my mind since the suggestion was made. But, back to "Deliverance:" The bow on the table is my Bear Kodiak Magnum, the Ferrari of recurve bows during the "Deliverance" era and a collector piece today. In the film, Burt Reynolds (Lewis) used a Bear Victor Kodiak take-down and Jon Voight (Ed) used a Bear Kodiak Hunter. By the way, there is no music with this post. It has been replaced by a clip from "Deliverance" and another of Dickey reciting his poem, "For the Last Wolverine," and another depicting a bit of Zen archery, Japanese style. I think my mind is swirling at the moment -- lost in summertime in the midst of woods, water and wilderness. Christmas? Did you say it is nearly Christmas? Are you sure?
The illogic of logic ....
The illogic of logic ....
It seems strange when thoughts enter your mind at illogical times.
Today, I was thinking about archery, about spending some time sending arrows into targets. Why this did not enter my mind last summer -- when temperatures were mild and days were sunny -- I cannot imagine. I only know that today I found myself stringing a bow, placing an arrow upon it, closing my eyes and drawing the bow string back, back, back.
I suppose I could have let the arrow fly, broken it and put a gash in the wall (probably put the arrow through the wall), but, I did not. I relaxed the bow string, put down the bow and sat down on a love seat to think about it.
My interest in archery probably began with seeing it in films. I recall having bows and arrows before I was in school; taking money from my savings to buy materials to make my own arrows while I still was in elementary school; hunting big game (as hunter slang would put it) with archery gear before I was out of high school.
Among my favorite books as an adolescent was, "Zen in the Art of Archery," by Eugen Herrigel. Without reviewing or discussing the book, in short I believe I "learned" from it to be somewhat adept at becoming one with the bow and the arrow and the destination of the arrow. (For those unaware, I also became quite fanatical about Japanese-style judo for a few years, and actually taught it in two widely and wildly different formats.)Later in life, I became enthused about James Dickey's masterpiece, "Deliverance," which involved three loves of my life at the time: Wilderness survival, canoeing and archery. One of my favorite paragraphs in "Deliverance" is this:
"Lewis is still a good shot, and it is still a pleasure to watch him. 'I think my release is passing over into Zen,' he said once. 'Those gooks are right. You shouldn't fight it. Better to cooperate with it. Then it'll take you there; take the arrow there'."
Those lines really are poetry more than they are prose. Dickey was more a poet than anything, I think. I have written posts in the past about him and about "Deliverance." I once heard him speak as a guest lecturer at the University of Tennessee, and was among a few able to talk with him for a while after the event.
Why am I writing this piece? So much of what happens to us is because we are at the right place at the right time or the wrong place at the wrong time. Why do I think of archery now, when the temperatures are ranging to a dozen degrees below zero Fahrenheit and there are four or five inches of snow on the ground? Maybe, it is because so much of what we want –- or think we want -- is distant from us in time or space .... which might be a major factor in why we want it: It is inaccessible.
I cannot go back to places or to people in the past (although, I have tried), but I can bypass contemporary time and/or space and go to people or places simply by boarding an aircraft and traveling to my destination. In other words, I could fly to Florida tomorrow and shoot arrows until my arms and hands are able to do it no longer. Or, I can defy contemporary time and/or space and stand in the Minnesota cold and snow and "become" one with my arrows on their flights to the targets.
I think our minds are as strong or as weak as we allow them to be, but, sometimes, we cross one too many rivers on our journey through the woods and on to the sea.