the archer in me

checking in again…i am 16 hours ahead here, have adjusted quickly though my body sometimes has a moment of feeling it should be asleep or awake when it’s simply not the time.

so i believe i have told you all about my fixation on robin hood. the disney children’s movie robin hood. it’s deep to love the disney version of the ultimate hero in redistribution of wealth, but i was raised with that robin as my hero, that bear little john as my sidekick of choice – and any sly cat with money as my nemesis. the fox, the archer = my identity.

so i just got back from my first stint at archery and i must say, i have a touch!

my dad has replaced doting over us girls with doting over 18 holes of golf. the attention and memory and passion he brings to golf amazes me, and in the 10 years i’ve been away from home he’s been dropping his ‘handicap’ like it’s hot. my mom has even picked up the lingo and finds it meditative.

so on my first day in japan, we drove up to their favorite course, tama hill, where he played a 5:30 am game. he showed me the course in little golf carts and it is really a beautiful place, all rolling hills. golf is weird to me. tama also has horse rides, archery, put-put golf…stuff i associate with rich people country clubs in the states.

we missed the guided horse ride, which was ok with me because i like to just go with a horse into the woods, not have to follow anyone. archery, however, was $5 for a bow and 6 arrows. no quiver (to hold the arrows), no instructions. but get the bow in hand and examine it a bit and it becomes clear what to do.

at the end of a muggy muddy field were three much used targets, yellow red and blue. it turns out i have a powerful shot, my arrows landing each time well beyond the targets. unfortunately, behind the targets was an untamed jungle full of spiders and spiderwebs. yes i have been camping and no, i still don’t want to traipse about in the muddy spider filled jungle with beetles crawling up my ankle…thus, my aim improved. sometimes. and – to be honest – leave no arrow behind did Not apply. but i started hitting the target, and had a golden run. my competitive nature tried to come up, but i bitchslapped it back into place and really had fun.

my broken, slippery glasses were fogging up in the heat. i’d get the bulls-eye in my sights, and then rush to relax, center and release before the glasses fell down my nose or fogged up. finally i took them off – the coloring of the target made it still possible to try…i had my stance right, figured out my natural error…and release. it was exhilerating – such a simple weapon, so satisfying to use.

i can only imagine how i will be with new glasses, or post lasik. did i mention i am trying to get some lasik eye surgery? i have an astigmatism in my left eye, and everyone says that disqualifies me. i don’t care, i am going to at least get it on my right eye. luscious one eye brown. sassy.

the novelty of being in japan and the size of everything, the logic that prevails in the lay-out of inside spaces – especially bathrooms, dear go i love the bathrooms here! some are holes in the floor where you don’t have to touch anything potentially dirty with any part of your body – heaven!…it will take a bit to wear off, but i’m here for a while yet.

what i didn’t know was that in the summer the air gets too thick with moisture to see fuji. i know she’s over there, but just beyond what can be seen, there’s no clear days till the cold comes in winter.

tomorrow by this time i’ll be in hiroshima, my mom and i are taking the bullet train to the most famous bomb site in the world. i keep thinking i can somehow prepare myself emotionally, but i know that is silly – everything i ever feel, i feel in totality, its a dangerous side effect of trying to be so present. the way i have lived up until now, since i was very little, is to lean into the atrocious, unimaginable acts we humans commit against one another, because my work is to deconstruct the urge to obliterate each other. what can be moved deep in our hearts to unleash the forgiveness and compassion necessary to keep us from ever dropping another a-bomb? from staging another ‘shock and awe’ effort. i suspect it is inner strength, paired with an ability to hold responsibility for the legacy of violence we inherit. where i am going tomorrow, this thing that happened before i or my parents was born, it is the legacy of the country of my birth, the great shame of humanity, it is part of the reason i am in japan right now.

and that brings us to: no trip home is seamless. my mind is in a few places: watching the ever increasing love and comfort between my parents, thinking about why i have historically run interference on that kind of love in my own life…finding a place in their constant dialogue to tell about life; thinking about someone who makes me blush; seeing the hushed morality of my parents in their respective worlds…how often do i mistake an overt political stance for a brave one? telling them about my job – (dad: so who is your boss? me: i am. dad: but who…runs it? me: i do. dad: ah! ok!)

at some point maybe i will explain the more collective way things actually run at ruckus, and my dreams for it and how to balance that with 6 people’s dreams…the staff is brilliant and everyone is playing a part, and our success will occur when each of those parts is equal. but what is important here is that he understand how seriously i take the work, not the inner workings. 

we walk that finest of lines – i love my parents so much, and they love me and have never faltered in that. no debate, no difference of opinion so far, has been big enough to damage that. none of us is on a pedestal now. literally – we’re about to curl up on a couch and watch the weekly political shows they love. i may not get to write again before we leave, and hiroshima and kyoto will take me away all week…have a nice one!

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