Thursday, February 19, 2009

Drifting Thoughts

A Few Winter Thoughts

With deep snow weighing heavily and cold slicing deeply some Saturday evenings it is good to put down the book, mix a "toddy-for-the-body," and watch the fire. Cracklin' fire is far simpler than chopsticks on the keyboard, yet more relaxing than Baroque symphony. Crown and a cube in my favorite soapstone mug allows the mind to drift with the flames.

Last Saturday the mind wandered back to the stories of this year's latest high-velocity, super ballistic coefficient, low drag bullet launcher yet devised. The name isn't important. It is only the most recent in a number of offerings that wet the appetite of any consumer.

With so many options left to the consumer it is often difficult to know, "What is best?" As the mind pondered this, it wandered to a new and improved, futuristic elk hunt. It is no longer just one person slipping silently through the timber. It is one man followed by a platoon of gun bearers. When quality game presents itself many decisions have to be weighed. The first is, "What is the animal?" Deer? Sheep? Bear? Elk? Ptarmigan? The second question is, "What is the range?" Close? Far? "What are the conditions?" Open meadow? Heavy brush and timber? After all the variables churn through the hand held ballistic launching profiler, it turns out that the 15th gun bearer has the correct weapon.

Number 15 arrives with it. A little tremble. A wobbly sight picture. The crosshairs sweep the target and the trigger is pulled.

The mind heaves a sign as another spark disappears up the stack.

No real need for all that "stuff." Remember the military acronym, "K.I.S.S."--Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Simple items to take a tough bull elk. No, I don't still use a 30-30.

Keep It Simple, Stupid. How does one mind keep it simple? And when that simple thing becomes one mind's opinion, how does it compete with many minds making many things simple and complex, which becomes many opinions, both simple and complex?

Simply? It can't.

Over the next week or so, there will be one simple (here) opinion on the following items:

That mind. Another lick of flame twists and fight for air, and thoughts move to a older time of younger people. A day of lying in the Georgia sun, wearing two sweatshirts and a heavy leather shooting jacket, being repeatedly pounded by an M-14. That was both fun and fatiguing. No snow. No cold. No fireplace.  A simpler time.  Everyone had the same rifle.  Everyone had the same gunsmith.  Everyone was issued ammo from the same box.  The only thing separating one shooter from the other was their mind's ability to use conscious action to shoot a subconscious shot.  And comment from SFC Tulua, NCOIC of 6th Army MTU, like, "Good shot group, Specialist (anyone).  You could cover it with a dime.  Just throw ten pennies at the target," would give serious competition a little humor.

Sitting position at 200 yards with the Army Marksmanship Unit. Photo is actually taken at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, circa June 1987.

But an evening in a hot tub with a cold Corona let a little steam drift up the chimney.

After a day being pounded by an M-14 in the hot sun, a hot tub and beer go great. Specialists Four Holt and Willard and Corporal Carroll.

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