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3月6日(日)

厄年の行事で実家に行ってきた。

男の数え年で42歳は、いろいろと災厄が起こる年という。
地元の同級生18名が対象に、約ひと月前に葉書が届き、遠方や仕事で来られない者を除いた8名が参加しての厄年行事となった。

同窓会とは雰囲気が異なる。地区がより限られるし、集まるのは男ばかりである。ただし、行事の見物には、親や嫁さんや子供がやって来る。それぞれの親の顔は知っているが、嫁さんと子供は初めてである。意外に感じたり、妙に納得したりした。

厄払いの行事は全国各地で多様なものがある。燃える炎の中を歩くとか、寒中で氷水をかぶるとか、崖を馬に乗って駆け上がるとか、極端なところではそういうイメージ。
わが故郷の行事は、袴姿の正装で弓矢を射るというもので、8名が2本ずつ射る中で1本でも当たれば良しという、割と気が楽なものである。

地元の連中は何度か練習の機会を持ったが、僕のように今回のため帰省した場合は、前夜に少し練習の後、ほぼ、ぶっつけ本番で臨むことになるわけだった。
初めての弓道は、矢が前に飛べば、観客に向いてさえ飛んでゆかなければ十分であり、当たらなくても当然と聞かされていたので緊張はしなかった。

左手に弓、右手に矢を持ち、弓に矢をつがえて引き絞る。
腕の力だけに頼っていては弓は引けない。体幹を意識し、背筋を使う。
とまあ、そんな説明を受けたが、教師役は公民館の管理人のおじさんであり、いま一つ感覚が分からない。計10本ほど射たが、集中できたのは最初の2,3本だけで、あとは普段使わない筋肉が早々に悲鳴を上げてしまい、ろくに的を狙うことが出来なかった。

翌日、本番の日は朝から神社で祈祷を受け、昼食の後、着付けをして、弓引き行事までのわずかな時間に、経験者が稽古を付けてくれることになった。
3年上の故郷の先輩は、高校で弓道部に入っていたといい、さすがに構えは決まっていて、次から次へと放たれた矢が20メートルほど先の的を射抜いてゆくのは壮観だった。

教え方も理に適っており、というか、本物を見て真似る要素が大きかったのだろう。お手本を見た直後に射た1本目は、初めて的の端に命中し、コツが分かった気がした。続いての2射は大きく外れたが、一時間後の本番に向け、1本でも命中したことは大きな自信となった。

観客の前で緊張したわけでもなかったが、本番は2本とも当たらなかった。8人の内2人が1本ずつ命中させ、温かい拍手が送られた。
武道ならではの、腕力だけに頼るのではなく、身体の用い方と心の有り様がそのまま結果につながるところは、非常に面白く、機会があれば再び挑戦してみたいものである。一連の作業は、どこか文章を書きながら考えをまとめる作業にも似ているともH氏は思った。

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