I tightly grasp the bow as I lift it to my face, keeping it parallel to the ground. My hand fits perfectly into the curve of the bow.
The wood feels soft, pliable, but it holds the power to hurt someone very badly if used incorrectly. I carefully nock an arrow into place, feeling satisfaction as the cleaved nock clicks into place. Lifting the bow to my face, I carefully line up my fingers—one on top of the nock, two below—and pull the string back slowly. Squinting my left eye, I lean close to the arrow, seeing the target from my arrow’s perspective instead of my own. A single raindrop splatters on the ground. I can hear a bird call in the distance. For an instant, I am transported to an ancient forest filled with fantastic hunters and magnificent fighters. I take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Then I let go.
The balloon explodes, sending bits of plastic and paper twirling to the ground below.
“Yes! Nice shot!” shouts my best friend. My ancient hunting forest disappears as I lower my bow, turning to my friends gathered behind me. Standing in a close huddle, they cheer and smile together as they clutch their bows.
“It’s not that impressive; I was only about ten yards from the target.” I smile.
“Nonsense, it was an excellent shot! Now move along, my turn.” My friend Kate moves up to the firing line as I step back. Pulling an arrow from her quiver on her back, she knocks it, smiling the entire time. As she raises her bow, I see her eyes take on a look from the past. Her body straightens instinctively, and her eyes naturally find the target. I know she has entered the archery realm. Her yellow balloon explodes as well, and we rush forward to congratulate her.
This is how I remember most of my friend get-togethers happening. Whether I am planning a pool party or Christmas dinner, my friends’ first words are “I’ll bring my bow.” Sometimes we get to shoot, and sometimes we are too caught up in other activities to enjoy the quality bonding time the foam targets and aluminum arrows grant us. Nevertheless, it is a sport we always return to if we need an activity.
There are three main bows.
My friend John has a Longbow; his bow is long, tall, and straight-backed, much like himself. It has a certain calculated draw weight fit for his personal use and will break if it is pulled too far or too quickly. He is very protective of it.
My other friend, Kate, owns a Recurve. Her bow is shorter than John’s and has more of a bend in the handle. This is the most popular bow for recreational sport and target practice. It is also my personal favorite.
We often poke fun at my third friend, Amy, who shoots a Compound-bow. These bows do not look at all like the rustic weapons you would see on the battlefronts of ancient civilizations. Instead, her bow is a modern creation outfitted with metal accessories, wheels, and three separate strings to help reduce draw weight and increase accuracy. She even has a scope attached to her bow.
Sometimes a Compound is considered a ‘wimpy’ bow, with all of its modern additions and nearly half the draw weight of a Recurve. However, no one can deny the fact that these extra gadgets and gizmos allow Amy the most precise aim of the four of us.
Besides the different types of bows, there are also different arrows. Practice tips are for targets and unlucky balloons. Broadheads are extremely sharp and are used for hunting game, like turkey and bear. Mechanical heads are the most modern. They are combination Broadheads which only open upon impact. I only own practice tips, as I have never hunted game before.
Bows, like guns, have many uses besides hunting. They bring people together and allow for friendly competition and skill development. Shooting out in nature brings me closer to the world around me and makes me feel more connected to other people living now, and in the past. Archery is an ancient tradition, which connects the strings of ancient civilizations to the present. By participating in archery, I have learned many important skills, such as how to hold a steady hand, check my surroundings carefully, and control my breathing. It has helped me keep calm in escalating situations, make and connect with friends, and have a peaceful retreat on stressful days. It is my form of meditation.
I might not live in ancient times where archery was a necessity to fight and collect food, but I still love the skill of archery and how it connects so many living things. Every time I pull back the string, I am transported to a faraway time and a magical place where I can relax and reconnect with my world. Everyone has a hobby that gets them to this enchanting world, and for me, it is archery.
About the Author:
Name: Juliet Lucas
How many years were you apart of TPS before you graduated?
I started TPS when I was in eighth grade, and continued classes through high school. My favorite classes were History Through Film and Home Economics. Even though I graduated last spring, I still feel very connected to the TPS community.
What college are you attending?
I am currently attending DVC Community College and hope to transfer to a University within the next three years.
What are a few of your hobbies?
I love being outdoors, and I often go on hikes and shoot archery with my family. When I am inside, I am usually reading or writing short stories. My favorite pastime is making short films with my friends, which I spend a great deal of time editing.