Friday, June 26, 2009

Pressing On.

Baa Baa black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes Sir! Yes Sir!
Three bags full.

Yesterday was a start of 3 days off. I was in the city briefly and stopped by to visit a friend. As she and I talked about the reloading process the question came up. Do I reload so I can shoot, or do I shoot so I can do more reloading? The work area is all set up, a screened door to the back yard keeps a nice breeze flowing through, but a fan was a necessity, it's been pretty hot lately. I got a new Lee O Frame press this week and got it mounted to my little bench. I've got some RCBS dies. . . . plus a Hornady scale, a Lee powder measure and the Lyman reloading manual. Let's try it out and make a practice bullet with the brand new press. Ta Da! THE BARNEY BULLET! In any case, it's going to be a fun summer, as long as the primer supply holds out. I got lucky and found a small supply of $32 for a thousand at a tiny "ma and pa" gun store. I've got dies for .45, .380 and .223, probably all I will need for now. I've got a big box of round-nose lead bullets and Hornady XTP Copper Jacketed. Finished product notwithstanding, there's something almost Zen-like about reloading, when you get going at a good pace, a rhythm and grace that with practice becomes a ballet of powder, press and hands. If you've never reloaded, remember, the first step is always the hardest. Trying something new. Embracing something long forgotten that at one time you loved. Embracing something you've never done but wanted to. Tiny leaps upward propelled by longing and only held back by the gravity of timidity.

It's not much different than taking that first solo in an airplane. . You have been given the tools, you have the capabilities. But it's the fear of the what you don't know that holds you back, while upward something enticing but new beckons. You've learned through your lessons, that the sky is sometimes gentle, sometimes capricious. Flying can be just efficient transportation or something almost spiritual in it's quiet, divine in it's vastness. And frankly, you're just a little afraid of it at this point.

But you couldn't resist the siren call and now it's time for your first solo. So you gingerly taxi away from your instructor, who is probably as nervous as you are, and you turn your eyes upward, and drink the air and breath the light and and make that first leap. And the beauty and the vastness of possibility hits you and the exhilaration of all that awaits takes your breath away. And life is suddenly fuller because you can do something you never ever thought you could do. Anything new can be daunting. Reloading was for me at first. Now I stand in the shop in my garage/shop area, a vast cavern of a space with hot and cold water and lights and tools. The fan is blowing my hair and I concentrate, yet my mind is completely open to thought. The soft hush of my movement, the sounds of the press, stabilize into a gentle inaudible song with just the occasional background chorus of the the world far away, and I am lulled into a quietness of efficiency.

Some would say it's a dull way to spend an evening. I find it a totally relaxing way to spend some time. I'm not out in my little plane, but I'm just as relaxed. It's not that much different from that first solo in that little open cockpit plane. I have goggles over my eyes and my hands move in rhythmic efficiency while somewhere the person who taught me grins, knowing the craft continues.

It's a nice, cost effective way to wind down after a long day. As the light starts to dim, I simply bask in the brisk pace of creating something, clouds outside disbanding with the disinterest of late day and the view out my little shop door looking out to the trail of someones little airplane up above. A first flight for someone perhaps? The plane moves onward through the evening, vanishing upward like the smoke from an expended cartridge.