I, Gabrielle Pollack, am a Tree Killer

Hello!

Last Saturday was a fantastical day. The ACT, was over (cue the Hallelujah chorus), the weather was suspiciously spring-like (though spring was 37  days away), and a strange sort of happiness was welling up inside me.

You know the feeling. The rush of new life, the smell of spring in the air, it all summons something new and adventurous inside you that was lost in the winter. It’s like the air has a sort of magic in it that makes you glad to be alive in this wide and beautiful world. I was going to burst if I didn’t do something outside, under the blue sky, breathing in that magical air; I was sure of it.

My camera had been staring at me for the past few months, making me feel guilty for not using it.
I had paid a pretty penny for it, after all. I needed to use it. So I checked the batteries and threw the strap over my head.

I also grabbed my recurve bow, a quiver full of arrows, my throwing knives, and my penny whistle. Such an assortment of weapons may make me sound like a girl straight outta the Hunger Games (other than the penny whistle 🙂 ), but I promise I’m not that scary in real life.

I threw my quiver and bow over my shoulder and set out. Now you may be wondering where the tree killing comes in. You see, I didn’t bring a target into the woods, believing I would just ‘find something’ to shoot at, like a conveniently placed stump.

I entered the woods and failed to find the stump I’d expected. So I picked a sad looking, probably dead tree as my target. The reader must take note here that it is still winter. Everything but the newborn grass looks dead. But I failed to take this into account.

I slipped on my arm guard, finger tabs, and the like and notched an arrow. I drew back the string, took aim, and let my arrow fly, a bit sooner than I should have.

It hit the tree with a clack, quivering where it hit. I’d lodged the arrow a foot above my head. No big deal. I’d just pull it out. Couldn’t be that hard, right? I mean, I’d used trees as targets for my throwing knives, and were easy to pull out. Plus they’d done little damage to the tree itself.

Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

Who was I kidding? You’re shooting arrows, not throwing knives,Gabby. Pulling an arrow that’s been shot from a five foot recurve bow isn’t easy.

In fact, I discovered it’s near impossible.

I was starting to question the wisdom of my decision from multiple points; my arrow wasn’t coming out of the poor tree no matter how much I pulled, wiggled, or yank.  Second, the poor tree didn’t do anything to me, and I had just shot it like a heartless jerk (yes, I was feeling guiltily for hurting a plant. I would be a terrible hunter). Third, the tree started crying! It leaked water from the place I’d shot it. Oh great going Gabby. You made a harmless tree cry. Fantastic. The tree would probably wither and die. I was officially a heartless tree-killer.

After struggling for quite a while, I managed to retrieve most of my arrow. When I say most of it, I pulled out the arrow shaft itself. The insert (a little metal thing that goes inside the arrow ) slipped out of the shaft, leaving the arrow head and the insert in the tree. To say the arrow had stuck fast was an understatement.

I dislodged the insert (and managed to loose it among the grass), but the arrow head was stuck. I eventually gave up and shoved some mud over the arrow head, hoping to stop the water. It was a weak attempt to reverse the damage, but hey, at least I tried.

I finished off the day by shooting a little more (and yes, I did hit another tree, though not necessarily on purpose), throwing some knives (none of which stuck, other than into the ground), and playing my penny whistle (quite badly).

I learned a few lessons that day.

  1. Pulling an arrow out of a tree isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies.
  2. Throwing knives make great picture subjects, even if you can’t throw ’em.
  3. Make an effort to find a dead wooden target next time, or at least a target that doesn’t leak water. Much less guilt involved, not to mention less loss of property.

I left the woods that Saturday with a few lessons learned, and a tree somewhere in the Pollack woods (hopefully) survived the day with a nice field point stuck in its trunk.

What lessons have you learned from nature?

Have a fantastical day!

G.R.P.

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