2. HORSE BOWS ROCK.
Over ten years ago, I vowed to buy myself a horse bow when I reached the middle of five ranks in the SCA. I got just about to that rank and then let my archery lapse for ten years because... bizarrely enough... after 9/11, I went to the range to clear my head, and I just... couldn't. Not that day, not the next week. And so I stopped going.
I picked up archery again this year, and I'm about halfway back to where I was before.
Anyway. I saw someone with a horse bow today, and he caught me staring. I said, "Is that a horse bow? It's beautiful." It was one by this Chinese Bowmaker, same as in the pictures, except black wood wrapped in smooth, supple, burgundy-dyed snakeskin. Suede grip, no arrowrest. I love horse bows because they're short, well-proportioned for someone like me. But I've never gotten to draw one.
After I finished shooting, he came over and asked if I'd like to try his bow. It was 60 pounds, twice my wee little wooden recurve. But I could DO it. It's a very springy, supple wood [ETA: oh, of course, it's bamboo] that bends easily, so it was only a little harder to pull than my recurve, although harder to hold. Amazingly, you could rest an arrow right on your knuckle, and it would fly off the string without the bottom feather cutting or touching your hand as it left. And the sound of the string: deep, low, like a woodwind, very quiet and musical. Also, my aim was better with it, although my arm tired very quickly.
So now, once again, I lust for one. But my rule is that I can only get myself an expensive hobby-lust like that if I still want it after two years. We'll see. If I keep up with archery for a year, I may finally get one.
3. I had forgotten just how deeply a quill can bury itself in your knuckle when it tears off the arrow during release. Note to self: when the arrow rest is starting to go, REPLACE IT. (I am proud to say I cleaned the blood off my bow and finished practice before coming home to remove the quill. What a mess.)
(P.S. The photo above was taken with a self-timer.)