The Shaman and Time’s Arrow

The Shaman and Time’s Arrow

Night Moves, by Douglas Pinson. Digital painting, 2021.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I played Daniel-san to the Shaman’s Mr. Miyagi. He had me wash his car, weed and seed his lawn, and take his clothes to the dry-cleaner’s, among other chores. All of this struck me as a waste of time, of course, which was likely the point. Either that, or a lesson in Entropy, a word the Shaman had left out of his lessons so far.

But things changed dramatically soon enough. Archery lessons! This was something I knew I could use, especially given my youthful admiration of Robin Hood, and my hatred toward Paris, the coward of The Iliad. Now, if only we could combine the Zen of Archery with the Zen of Motorcycles — shoot arrows while riding Yamahas — all would be forgiven.

Alas, that was not to be. Instead, our lessons, which took place at the Shaman’s sprawling estate, consisted primarily of shooting arrows at Greek and Shaolin temples, across a large, greenish pond. Statues, I was told, lived there, though they were hidden from view, and I was supposed to sense them and “kill” them despite the obstacles. More obstacles would soon be added.

“Banba, go ahead and blindfold our young sir, please.” The Shaman smiled at the tall young woman who bore a striking resemblance to Morrigan from the café. They could be sisters, and probably were.

“Young sir, please don’t shake your head. I’ll have to tie it so tight, you won’t be able to see for a week!” I stopped struggling against the temporary limits put on my vision, and a sudden rush of brilliant flower scents engulfed me. Banba obviously wasn’t a student of the Shaman’s at the moment, as there were no great contrasts among the flowers. But there was complexity, and this helped diminish the stench from the curious farm animals surrounding us as we began the lesson.

“Shoot at the statues inside the temples, in the middle of the island, in the midst of the Lake of Clouds!” The Shaman’s words and Banba’s soft hands helped guide my aim, and I shot the first arrow, then the second, and then hit my target with the third. How did I know I had hit my mark? The statue screamed.

For the next two hours, I shot arrows, somewhere, anywhere, as I lost one sense after another to Banba’s machinations. When the lesson was over, the Shaman said:

“You are nearing the time when you can live inside six dimensions, like bee scouts, with their waggle dance. You hit your targets repeatedly using your sixth sense, and no previous student of mine has ever done so well. Banba, please take young sir home on his horse of choice, and remember to use the bike lanes only. Until next time . . . “


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