Monday, October 19, 2009

Things you'll never forget

It's been about six months since Boomershoot, but right now I can close my eyes and be back in Orofino, Idaho looking through my scope at JD's target.

My body is cold, but it doesn't matter because I've already entered the final stage of stone-like stillness and single mental focus that comes just before firing a shot. My arms, my hands, my head, and my rifle are a single solid object in this moment.

I interrupt my shallow breathing with a slightly deeper breath, and speak two words. "Send it!"

After a brief pause of complete physical and mental stillness, I hear a muffled shot and I feel pressure against my chest. I do not flinch, and my eye does not waver, because this sensation is almost natural to me now. Through my scope I see bullet trace for the first time.

The high pressure and heat created by the bullet traveling through the air bends the light around it, allowing you to actually watch the bullet move through the air. You can literally watch the tiny projectile moving at 2800 feet per second fly through the air. The ripples of light around the bullet, and the disruption directly behind the bullet take the form of a wavy donut trailing behind the projectile.

The moment plays in my head in slow motion. The donut enters at 9 o'clock in my scope, follows a parabolic path upward toward 12 o'clock before it begins arcing downward toward the center of my crosshairs where a three inch by three inch white box rests, 380 yards away. I watch the donut drop perfectly into the target, and disappear briefly behind the solid white of the box. A fraction of a millisecond later the square of white disappears into a small cloud of white smoke that instantly expands into a four foot cloud. It hangs for an instant before the wind begins dragging it to the right. A smile involuntarily stretches across my face as I take in a breath and I pull back from the scope. The scent of gunpowder begins to register in my brain, and I turn to speak to JD just as the sound of the explosion hits us. "I saw it! I saw the bullet trace!"

Every time I play that scene over in my head I must smile.

There are some things you'll never forget.

1 comment:

Top of the Chain said...

That is awesome. I really enjoyed your narrative.