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Eastern Standard Time

Melissa Jo Hill
3 min read
Eastern Standard Time
The thing I love most about the biannual time change is explaining it to my dogs.

It's 5:47 a.m. and my brain snapped awake this morning at four – along with Dolly Parton's brain. If you want to make a habit of waking up early without an alarm clock, get a lab puppy. She came pre-programmed to wake up, do her outside business, and have her breakfast all before sunrise.

I can't fault the dog though, the time change is silly.

Yesterday I managed to leave my house and go to the range. It seemed like a big deal. I'm struggling through Lyme right now – on a course of Doxycycline. I am, in a word, exhausted. All the time, not just before 6 a.m. Even before the Lyme I was in recovery mode from carpal tunnel surgery this past summer. It's been a hell of a year for archery. Hellish year overall. Not the worst year, but a whopper for sure.

So my goals for archery have been two-fold. Figure out how to grip the bow again, and get my strength back so I can shoot some volume. There's a small scar on the base of my left palm. It doesn't hurt anymore, but when I press into it, I feel it. Overall, I'm so happy with how the carpal tunnel surgery went, even though having my hand casted for six weeks drove me up the wall (and by extension, my doctors). But the outcome is that when I wrap my hand around the bow grip, I'm second guessing. I'm fidgeting – even at full draw. I'm throwing arrows high and low because of it.

And then there's volume. Yesterday I went with the intention of shooting 90 arrows. It took me two hours. When I first came back to shooting post-surgery, I was shocked by how heavy my barebow rig is. With the aluminum weights I have, the riser is just a hair under 4 pounds – that doesn't include the limbs and my dampeners (which are nominal). I sat at home with a five pound weight at my desk, lifting it between work emails and offscreen during zooms, but the exercise didn't transfer. Physically lifting and balancing the bow was the first challenge.

The funny thing is, my longbow is a heavier draw but light as a feather. I can take that out and shoot without physical pain or anxiety about my grip. Granted, I tend to shoot a straight wrist grip and I'm doing a lot less holding when I'm shooting instinctive, but the feeling of shooting it is energizing rather than draining.

Last week we joined some neighbors for a pumpkin hunt and we had the privilege of watching a bunch of young kids pull their tiny bows and try for a pumpkin. I teach archery (to much older "kids"), but seeing the thrill of that first bullseye doesn't get old.

Also, shooting gourds is fun. Even for adults.

Once the sun rises a little higher, I'll leave these sleeping dogs of mine and head back to the range for my 90 arrows. Another antibiotic, another black coffee. There's so much work to be done. So much strength to earn back.