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Marathon Man: The Meerkat Archers – A Fable

Martin Parnell recounts a short story he penned during a three-day silent retreat to Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre in Cochrane.
Sometimes it's good to be 'Fo Cuzed' and sometimes it's good to be 'Aym Luss.'

In early June, I went on a three-day silent retreat to Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre in Cochrane. It was an opportunity for reflection and contemplation in a beautiful woodland setting in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

My objective for the three days was no objective. I took no devices and the only communication tools were a pen and a notebook.

The first night, I went to the extensive library at the retreat and picked a book at random. It was The Art of Dying by Patricia Weenolson. The next morning, I walked to the end of the garden and leaned over the fence. There, 40 feet away, was a massive black horse. I have a fear of horses after being thrown off one as a child. This time, I decided to stand still and see what happened. After a few moments, the horse slowly ambled over and I was able to stroke its nose.

On the second evening I had an idea for a story and here it is:

One morning, two Meerkats Fo Cuzed and Aym Luss decided to head to the archery ranch. Fo Cuzed had been training for weeks and wanted to impress Aym Luss by hitting the bull’s eye. Fo Cuzed took up a bow, pulled the string to its maximum tension and let the arrow fly. The arrow sliced through the air and “thunk”, it hit the red circle, just two inches from the golden bull’s eye. Fo Cuzed was gutted.

“I worked so hard but didn’t achieve my goal,” Fo Cuzed said, kicking the ground and throwing down his bow.

Then it was Aym Luss’s turn. Picking up a bow and arrow, Aym Luss put a blind fold on, spun around three times, did a somersault, and then let the arrow fly. Pulling the blindfold off, Aym Luss saw the arrow fly high up in the air and land in a field of wild flowers. Aym Luss was thrilled. Having never tried that move before, there were no expectations of the outcome.

Fo Cuzed and Aym Luss left the range and, arm in arm, started to head home. Aym Luss told Fo Cuzed it was a great shot and should be proud. Fo Cuzed replied that it had been great hanging out and was impressed with the move Aym Luss had attempted.

This just goes to show that “Sometimes it’s good to be Fo Cuzed, and sometimes it’s good to be Aym Luss”.

And sometimes it good just to take a little bit of time for yourself.

© 2023 Martin Parnell

[email protected]

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