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Author Topic: Stump Shooting and a Lesson Learned from Thistle - by Doug Durant  (Read 261 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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Stump Shooting and a Lesson Learned from Thistle

by Doug Durant

I was tired after a day of putting in the bands, floor joist, and sub flooring for an addition to a house. The hour drive home from the job had me stiff. Carol had supper ready and was finishing eating before teaching a volunteer English class to non-native English speaking Saluda residents. She is a great person, and I am a lucky man. David was leaving for a college class, so I ate alone. My beagle Penny seemed to have great expectations that I would do something a dog would like, and insisted we go somewhere. She convinced me, so I shouldered my Fetrow Yew English Longbow and Cedar arrows, and took her to the country for some stump shooting.

I became relaxed by the mere act of shooting. My body seemed to become limber and less tense. The Bull Thistle is starting to head, and their deep maroon purple flower heads make a great mark, for a judo pointed arrow, that naturally draws the eye when framed by the lighter green of the pasture grass. The pinecones in the tall pines make great marks for my flu flu arrows. It just makes me happy with an almost childlike joy to hit a pinecone as a yellow fletched red arrow whirs into the air almost straight overhead. Or watch the white fluff and maroon pedals of thistle fly when hit by a well-shot arrow at ground level. I think if you really want to become a good shot, the best way, and the most fun, is to let this joy of shooting take you there.

Through the middle of the pasture runs a wet draw (a gentle depression) that becomes mushy when it rains as much as it has this spring. I was wearing sneakers, and didn’t really want to get them soaking wet. I did want to walk down to the pond, which is hidden behind a fencerow of red cedar trees, on the other side of the field. As I shoot my way along the edge of the draw I noticed that the thistle grew across at only one place along the draw. As a student woodsman nature is often teaching me to notice subtle changes in the land and the flora. And so with the information the thistle was sharing with me I took the plants suggestion and crossed the draw with the thistle showing me the way. Indeed the thistle was to be trusted giving me excellent advice, and teaching me a lesson in Bull Thistle. Not a big thing I know, but one of those things that make the world a wondrous place to live.

Such a wondrous place was this wood lined pasture piece of the world that I stayed till dark to watch the night sky come out from hiding after the departure of the garish Sun. I don’t know if you’re a person who looks up much, or has a fascination with the night. A sunset, the always-changing moon, and the never-ending journey of the planets along a trace in the sky called the elliptic awe me. The distant stars are such mystery.

A Chuck-wills-widow sounded off singing a herald for the night. Then followed a Whip-poor- will’s chorus carried by the cool embrace of night air. A special feeling seems to come to me as the day transforms into night. It seemed fitting this transformation should be acknowledged by the many vocal creatures that are just beginning their day.

Before it was dark enough to see more than just the planets and the brightest stars, a fireball brighter than Jupiter scribed an arc across the sky. A brief gift of heavenly splendor was given to one who stopped for a moment to look up in awe, or perhaps as acknowledgement of the songs sung to the night. The fireball seemed a fitting addendum to a lesson in observation given to me by wild Bull Thistle. Penny, also, in her doggish enthusiasm played her part in the lessons of the day.

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