Fingers of Ice
I’ve actually been having withdrawal symptoms from not going to archery over the Christmas period! So, when the day dawned bright and clear I leapt (slight exaggeration) into life.
However, when I had to scrape the ice off the car windscreen I started to have slight doubts about how cold I’d get. I shook them away and drove to the archery field. I had further second thoughts when I struggled to screw my bow together because my fingers were already reluctant to work. But, I had got there and now my equipment was ready, so it would have been feeble to turn straight back. And the field did look rather beautiful with its covering of sparkling frost.
I agreed to take part in a short round of two dozen arrows at thirty yards and two dozen at twenty, thinking that would be fairly quick. Well, that thinking turned out to be wrong! Although the ends were quite speedy, I hadn’t factored in the loss of arrows by all shooters. I don’t know if more went astray due to the cold (and freezing fingers) but those that did skidded madly across the frozen grass and (so I am informed!) were very hard to find. There were plenty of people shooting at eighty and a hundred yards too and they had a particularly large radius to search.
So, there was more stamping of feet and desperate warming up of hands than I had been counting on. It was bitingly cold and the bright sun faded very disappointingly. As someone said, it was a lovely day for a walk … less so for archery.
All around us, people packed up as quickly as they could, hauling targets away very smartly. The field was suddenly hugely depleted. However, at our target, the two of us who remained were determined to finish. It became a race against the cold. Would my fingers seize up completely? Would my brain, eye and hand coordinate sufficiently to be able to shoot? Could I add up my score? Did I care?!
Once finished, I scuttled off as fast as I could, with hurried goodbyes to those even hardier souls still remaining. I have a vague recollection of a mediocre score but that doesn’t really matter. I am far more proud of the fact that I actually managed to complete my round and provide a score! I did get frozen to the bone in the process but felt amazingly awake when I got home.