Saturday, March 7, 2009


I've shared this story with other friends.

Every once in awhile I hunt for arrowheads. A buddy who is very good at it will call me, and off we go to spend an afternoon stomping around in an empty field somewhere in northern Ohio.

Now my friend is very good at this arrowhead business. He would tell me about the glaciers that once covered North America. I can almost picture them. I've seen the dramatic gouges in the ground that created Lake Erie. (They are stll there, in case you are wondering just how old I am.)

My friend would tell me that 2,500 years ago most of Ohio consisted of forests and ponds. Arrowheads, he would tell me, are almost always found near the top of any given hill. At the time, these places would have been beaches. Being a romantic by nature, it's easy to see the former waterline in the ring of hills south of where I live. It's easy, once you know what you're looking for. Further, if you are a fan of the garden of Eden, it's no great stretch to picture it in ancient Ohio.
Okay, so maybe could be this is what the natives looked like. I've been told that they would gather in mid northern Ohio and make arrowheads by the thousands, and trade them for furs with other Indians coming down from Canada.
Sounds reasonable.
Who knows? I am one quarter Ohio Indian. This could have been my great-great-great-great .... Well, you get the idea. On the other hand I am three quarters German. This draw in my heritage insists on a warm bed, walls, a roof, and indoor plumbing (and has the urge to invade Poland on occasion, but that's another story.) What I'm trying to tell you is that an outdoor adventure for me is usually no farther than from here to the porch swing and back again.
And ...
In the maybe eleven or twelve years I've been doing this, I have yet to find an arrowhead. Not one. My friend finds 'em. Of course. I never find any. I've found horseshoes and an old medicine bottle once, but no arrowheads. (My friend even offered to give me one of his. I didn't take it. The rule is that ya gotta find 'em yourself.)

But I've found lots and lots of flint. It may not be an arrowhead, but it works for me. It's been chipped while chipping something else - a spearhead, an axe, maybe even an arrowhead. I pick it up off the ground, and rub the dirt off of it with my thumb. I realize the last person to hold my find passed this very spot 2500 years ago.

I get chills.

From somewhere, an ancestor smiles.



Anonymous said...

I have a similar feeling when I go to museum displays of ancient Egypt or China (of course, they don't let me touch anything) but I love the sense that someone thousands of years ago crafted what is in front of me now.

lorie said...

I love it--I get the same response. We go fossil hunting every once in a while at some of the quarries in NW Ohio. Same reason. (And geode hunting in southern Ohio/Indiana, but for a different reason altogether.) At any rate, along the lines of KP's comment, when I went to Germany in college, everyone laughed at me because I went around touching all the buildings. They were THOUSANDS of years old. You can't DO that here! It was the coolest thing!