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Author Topic: The Clear Coat - by Calvin Peters  (Read 346 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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The Clear Coat - by Calvin Peters
« on: May 07, 2003, 07:22:00 AM »
The Clear Coat

by Calvin Peters

David Mims was talking to the Ferret when he said…

“Mickey when he hits that bow with some clear he's gonna be hooked. Down right enchanted even.”  “You ain't gonna drag him off this habit with a D9 Catepillar.”

They were talking about the bow I was building on the “Bear Bow Build” thread.

I thought that I understood. Just like I thought that I understood what it was like to be a Father, before I was. My friends would say things like…“Until you have your own child…you won’t understand.” I figured they were just being high and mighty, made me mad actually, but now I know that they were right. I didn’t get it. And I didn’t get it on a grand scale. I now have my own kid.

I mention this because it applies to what David said as well…I didn’t get it.

All these bowyer’s keep talking about the “Witchery of Archery” as if that phrase has connotations that live outside of the book by “Maurice Thompson.” They talk about “medicine” in wood…they talk about their bows as if they are alive. They even give them names. I think I have found the reason for that. They quite possibly might BE alive. They certainly are full of life energy. Seems fitting; they were built to keep us alive.

Somehow they have been transposed from common wood that just as well may have been burnt for heat…or stood as a fencepost for 50 or more years.

And now I think that the bow really “becomes” alive when the finish coat is applied.

It is almost as if in homage to almost being finished, and as a reward for all our hard work…the wood acknowledges its destiny and lets it’s self become something that it has been waiting to be for a REALLY long time. A light comes on…and the “spirit” awakes.

This whole “Medicine” thing has gone way past the natives who discovered it, and now it sits in my lap.

I own it.

I came into it honestly enough…going full circle from a tiny hardware store recurve at 9 years old…to a $1500 compound set up complete with trigger release mechanism’s, sights and of course stabilizer bars…back to trying to make my own longbows for hunting.

And there is the rub.

 I get to make my own bows. I get to see them start as just “wood” and end up as these beautiful pieces of “earth spirit” that are just as happy vibrating in my hand as they are chucking a razor tipped projectile through the “living” department of a wild animal.

Just like a glorious wild and free creature somehow transforms from a fallen “animal” after that arrow has found his lungs…into “meat” somewhere during the initial butchering process, The wood turns from something drab and plain into something glorious…and certainly wild and free!

And I found that out when I put on the clear coat. It was just like David said…“Enchanted even.”

But it is deeper than that.

 I misted the first coat of clear on Ursa, turned up the heat, pointed a large fan on the project and headed out.

When I came back I saw the bow…I mean REALLY saw it. I could hardly believe what I was looking at…It had “become.”

I picked Ursa up in my hand and brought her into better light. Just like David said…I was captured. I looked deep into the grain. It had gotten a depth that no picture will ever be able to justify. I do not possess the vocabulary to describe the colours or the beauty that I saw there. And just like some mystical crystal ball, I looked deep into it and my mind’s eye started to flip through all the raw potential that bow had inside it. Hunts that it would go on, failures, success, and the impending sense of future history.  

I saw animals of all sizes and species lying down for the last time, fulfilling their final destinies. I saw visions of forest creatures running on the wind through the forest without making a sound. There was water cascading around giant boulders and down streams that were yet to be discovered, the heat and dryness of the desert…and a timelessness of all things wild.  

Survival…full bellies…wood smoke. It played out in an endless loop in my mind…and I knew I was hooked.

I also knew it was irrelevant for me to even live long enough to attend some of those visionary hunts…Ursa would make it.

(Like a child born, she no longer needed me to live. I was responsible for her being here…but she was now an entity unto herself. I am hoping that we will have a good relationship; I will do my part to try and be the best I can as she lives out her destiny as well. With a little luck, we will be able to spend some quality time together…)

It felt a little bit like one of those stories my parents read to me when I was a little kid…I had a tiny look into another world, another time. “And here there were dragons…and dinosaurs.” But it was more like a “reality fable” that hadn’t been written yet.

Perhaps the power of the Universe is contained in there somehow…I had just found a way of tapping into a little bit of it. Ever since then I can see it in every picture of a strung bow. I can see the tension in the string…the patience of what will be. I can’t think of a single thing that is more patient than a strung bow. It’s like a sentence that is without a period.

An endless waiting.

There is no beginning and no end. That bow was ALWAYS in that wood. And one day it will return to the nothingness it was before the wood grew. Just like the circle of life it provides for.

It is a provider, a facilitator and a friend. A tireless defender that that will not go to sleep unless you let it down.

So I guess this stuff IS magical. In fact I know it is! I would not be the least surprised if it turned out to have a heartbeat of it’s own. After all…it does need energy to live.

I had somehow managed to reach through the looking glass and touch the hands of millions who had gone before me, and had a brief glimpse of those yet to come.

But just like my friends that told me about being a Father…unless you build a bow, you just won’t understand, you couldn’t possibly understand.

But then again, what do I know? I am only putting the clear coat on my second one!

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