Friday, August 11, 2006

A walk in the woods

We are getting more and more crowded. The more of us there are, the more room we take up. Some of that room is/was in places where solitude could be found. Sadly those places are disappearing.

When the opportunity to enjoy a little elbow room away from the masses I try to take advantage of it. Exploration and discovery invigorate the spirit. Life feels less complicated and more in tune. Those are treasured moments.

To become a rifleman one needs these spaces to develop. Shooting targets at the range is enjoyable and a great place to get the repetitions required to be safe with your rifle, however, these tools were designed to be used in unconfined spaces. Learning to safely carry and operate your firearm in the arena it was meant to be employed is the next step and cannot be accurately duplicated within the pages of a book, indoors or a restricted environment.

Beneath a big sky with distant horizons or within a cathedral of ancient trees a rifleman can discover his limitations and adapt to the different textures of the environment. A rifleman defines himself by the choices he makes in the field. A rifleman is responsible for the safe and ethical use of his rifle in the field and must accept the consquences of his actions. Acknowledging this is key to preserving our shooting heritage.