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 It has been replaced by a clip from "Deliverance" and another of Dickey reciting his poem, "For the Last Wolverine," and another depicting a bit of Zen archery, Japanese style.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 ....

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.



ANITA said...

Deliverance is the best movie ever!also the banjo duet!
Schoking what the hillbillies did !and not to forget when he shoot the wrong person up on the cliffs!
and the ivestigation later!Beautiful nature movie!i must see it once again:))

I wish you a happy Christmas Fram if i dont see you around..i quess you will be spending it with you family.

About me.I am busy at work.We are going to Island in some months so yes..i am looking forward to go with the doctors.

Greetings Norway!

A Cuban In London said...

Christmas you say? Yes, it is Christmas, but with that bow and arrows you could well have a shot at Father Christmas, hahaha! Or at least at the sleigh. We don't want the Overweight Benefactor getting hurt, do we? All those presents to deliver ;-).

I can't remember when I last saw Deliverance. A gem of a film.

Cracking post. Loved it.

Greetings from London.

Gert Jan Hermus said...

You're right. Life really depends on coincidences some times!
I know nothing of archery, but I guess that it is more difficult than it looks ;-)

Greetings from the Netherlands! ;-)

Fram Actual said...

From every direction I look at both the novel and the film, Anita, all I see is classic, classic, classic. I am certain there are people who do not like "Deliverance" simply because of the story it tells, but I doubt there would be a professional book or motion picture critic who would not agree they are among the best ever.

By island, if you mean Cyprus, I am sure that you would enjoy another journey there. I have my doubts that you would like a river canoe trip. I do not think I have met a woman who does enjoy doing them. My ex-wife No. 2 went with me once. It was eleven days on the river, every night in a tent, no bath unless you went into the river, much heat on that outing, some meals of fish caught from the river. She never went on another canoe trip. I have taken longer treks with other men or by myself and, to be honest, I do not believe many men can handle it these days. Most men have become creatures of comfort.

Well, I think I will be back here before Christmas, so we might meet here before then. No, I think it will be another Christmas alone for me. Hmmmm .... home alone, the story of my life.

Thank you, for being here, Anita.

Fram Actual said...

There is no doubt in my mind reindeer have been the targets of many archers in many countries over the centuries, but it would be difficult for a jolly, plump man dressed in a red suit to be mistaken for anything or anyone other than who he is: Santa Claus .... or Father Christmas .... or St. Nicholas .... a rose by any other name ....

I will not bother to repeat my words from my return comment to Anita about my view of both the novel and the film versions of "Deliverance," but I will repeat the refrain: Classic, classic, classic.

As for the post, I am glad you enjoyed it. James Dickey was sort of a wild man, equally in terms of his lifestyle and his written work. I am curious, CiL and I would enjoy learning your opinion of him and his work.

In the meanwhile, I am glad for your visit today, CiL .... and, I hope your period of hibernation will be enjoyable.

Fram Actual said...

Leaving Zen out of the equation, target archery might be compared to swinging a golf club or serving a tennis ball, I think. Much of it relies on consistency of movement and preciseness of motion. Of course, hunting with bow and arrows introduces situations such as surprise and poor shooting conditions, which greatly curtail the archer's ability to achieve consistency and precision, and obviously make success much more difficult.

I would recommend target archery to anyone and to everyone, Gert Jan. I think you would discover the skills and qualities which make a good photographer also make a good archer.

Incidentally, I have lost count of the number of times I have been in the right place at the right time, but there has been none too serious (so far) of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I am pleased you made your way across the ocean to my page, Gert Jan. Thank you.

ANITA said...

Hi again!About canoing..i think i am too afraid of whats in the water..may be i turn around and loose control?scaring!
No no..not going to Cypruz again this North North!to the vulcano!It is a resach of our study in orthopedics..they are among the best in the you know..we got alot of people without legs of varoius reasons..It is only for a week in spring and got my son with me as always..So home alone this Christmas??Wowowowow!!!!interesting!I recon you probably have some nice food, movies,books and a little pretty princess to chit chat with:))Teasing:))) long and look forward to your next post.Deliverance is the best movie ever..still remember that oink oink oink!Terriblesituation!
Greetings and have a good week:))

Gert Jan Hermus said...

The other side of the ocean is just a keyboard away Fram! ;-))
You're welcome!

Greetings from the Netherlands! ;-)

Fram Actual said...

There usually is nothing to fear about what is in the water or under the water in North American rivers, Anita, although one can never be certain what might be encountered, especially on rivers of significant size. Personally, I do not care for swimming in rivers because of their currents, their usually low-visibility water and, perhaps this is what you meant, the possibility of contaminants in the water. I would not drink the water in most rivers.

What I was writing about in terms of people not enjoying these treks is the physical discomfort a person encounters. I am not writing about a Sunday afternoon float, but, instead, an extended trip lasting at least a few weeks through wilderness regions where you sleep and eat outdoors, attend to your "personal" needs behind a tree, might be caught in torrential rain or a storm without real shelter and have to live with whatever comes your way.

"Nice food, movies, books and a little pretty princess to chit chat with" .... hmmmm .... I wonder if there still is time to write a letter to Santa Claus telling him what I really would like to have for Christmas this year.

Be seeing you, Anita ....

Fram Actual said...

I guess I knew that, Gert Jan ....

For years, I have heard people comment about how the world is growing smaller and smaller. It is true. It is almost frightening -- at least, to me -- how not only verbal communications, but written words, as well, go back and forth around the earth in the blink of an eye. It is convenient, no doubt, but I am not sure I like it.

And, perhaps, that is why I like to canoe in wilderness areas. Life still has the same meaning there as it did when mankind first began to walk the earth. Distance is only as far as one can see and time moves only as fast as the sun, the moon and the stars.

I also like to visualize a map when I go from blog to blog. It gives me a sense of perspective, in a way.

Take care, Gert Jan ....

Smareis said...

Oi Fram,
Essa imagem é bem curiosa.Parece uma história excelente "Zen na Arte de Tiro com Arco", de Eugen Herrigel. Acho difícil esse esporte com arco e flecha, requer muita coordenação motora e atenção. Acho bacana quem faz arco e flecha.
Depois vou da uma olhadinha mais devagar nesses videos. Parece excelente.

Hoje passei exclusivamente para agradecer o carinho, à amizade, e a tua presença nesse ano de 2013 no meu blog. O meu desejo é que em 2014 possamos estar juntos novamente.
Desejo um abençoado Natal pra você e toda a sua família. Que os dias do Ano Novo sejam uma seqüência de profundas realizações e vitorias.
Feliz Natal e Próspero 2014!
Um abraço!

Fram Actual said...

The photographs accompanying my posts usually are meant as a visually symbolic illustration of the words in my post, Smareis. In this instance, I am trying to interweave my enjoyment of archery and canoeing in wilderness areas with a novel by and the personality of James Dickey and with my interest and experience in the Japanese concept of zen as it might be applied to archery and combat. Some people try to reduce things -- for instance, archery -- to their simplest elements, but, to me, the simplest might be the most complex, and most people do not bother to look beyond the surface and into the intricacies. Archery is much more than a bow, an arrow and a target if one cares to look beneath the surface. The videos usually are tied in to the words, too.

Yes, be assured that as long as I am on the blogs I will continue to visit your blog and to read your posts. I enjoy them and learn from them, and, as many others who visit you have noted, you convey a sense of peace and contentment which emerges from you and enters into us. Your blog has a bit of magic to it. And, I hope you will continue to visit me, as well.

Thank you, Smareis, for your Christmas and New Year wishes. I send mine to you.

Boris Estebitan said...

Hola, que tengas un lindo fin de semana navideño, un placer descubrir tu bello blog, feliz Sábado, te invito de manera cordial a que visites el Blog de Boris Estebitan y leas un poema mío titulado “El guerrero Pegaso”, espero que te agrade, puse mucho de mí para escribirlo, saludos cordiales y un abrazo enorme.

Fram Actual said...

Thank you, Boris, for your visit to my blog, for your invitation to visit your blog and for your holiday wishes.

I just returned from reading your poem, "The Pegasus Warrior," and found it to be both enjoyable and uplifting. In a sentence, you have a great attitude toward life, Boris, and your poetry leaves the reader feeling better about his own life and times, as well. You are a fine writer and true poet.

I will return to your blog, and I hope you will return to mine.

Bitch said...

Hello dear Fram!
We are "talking" one time in the year... let's say around Christmas, huh?
Thank you so much for stopping by and let me know that my blog is not dead yet...... :((
I am round Flickr-world, showing off my "skill" and excitement with photography!!!!
Very interesting as always is your theme... I have to get an opinion about this movie "Deliverance"!

Hugs from Greece my friend!!!!!

Fram Actual said...

I guess if our paths only are to cross once a year, the Christmas season might be the best time, Monika. I have several relatives and a few friends with whom my contact usually is only a Christmas card/letter.

The blogs are quite enough for me in terms of social media outlets, and I even do not spend as much time here as I once did. I cannot remember the last time I actually went out "exploring" on the sea of blogs.

I am glad you found my post interesting. The novel and especially the film version of "Deliverance" are rather "rough" in nature. The story is very philosophic and esoteric in substance -- a book for thinkers, it seems to me -- while in the film, the visuals of an explicit sexual attack of men on men and other graphic elements seem to be remembered by most people more the story beneath the surface.

Anyway, I think James Dickey was sort of a logical extension of the Ernest Hemingway persona among writers.

Thank you, for the visit, Monika. See you next Christmas -- if not before !!

Kaya said...

Fram, Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!

May 2014 will be the best year for you ever!

Very best wishes to you!

Gert Jan Hermus said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family from the Netherlands! ;-)

Fram Actual said...

Thank you, Kaya.

And, may the same be yours -- a very merry, happy, enjoyable Christmas and a coming year of peace, contentment and prosperity.

Fram Actual said...

Thank you, Gert Jan.

And, I wish you and your family a Christmas which will create joy and happiness and wonderful memories. You are fortunate to have young children in your home, I think, for there is no better experience than to share Christmas with children.

Boris Estebitan said...

Feliz Navidad amigo, son los sinceros deseos del blog de Boris Estebitan, que la pases excelente, un gusto compartir escritos contigo. MERRY X-MAS

Fram Actual said...

Greetings, Boris. I am glad you have journeyed back to my blog and grateful for your Christmas wishes.

To you, I return a wish that your Christmas and entire holiday season will be filled with many happy events, enjoyable activities and memorable moments. I hope your Christmas will be everything you want it to be and, in your new poem, ask it to be.

Something special ....