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Sonoma County Bowmen

Santa Rosa, Calif.
Jan. 1, 2003

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Today my father-in-law took me out to the Sonoma County Bowman's range out in Bennett Valley, where I got to shoot a bow and arrow for the very first time since I was a kid. I hit a few bullseyes out of the first quiver, but Bill warned not to get too excited since everyone does that on their first day -- and then they struggle the rest of their days to shoot as well.

On our way out, we met a bowman named Dan, wearing a rough leather vest and carrying a longbow he had made, based on a 6,000-year-old design found in Italy. (Why did I find his story more convincing than that of the Celt I'd shared a bonfire with the night before?) Dan said he has been shooting arrows for 60 years. As we talked, Bill mentioned that he had not worked as an engineer for a year now, and was trying to decide what he wanted to do next. Dan said, "I have an idea for you about that. Think about what you liked to do when you were a child. What did you love to do when you were 6 or 7?"

Although he wasn't talking to me, I realized that what I liked to do most was run around in the hills above Vista Lane playing soldiers and Indians ... not too differnt, I'm thinking, from what the guys at the Sonoma County Bowmen's club get to do every weekend.