Friday, October 12, 2012

The Discovery

Many years ago, when I was but a tow-headed barefoot boy wandering the gravel streets of Bluff City, I made an important discovery. It happened after I had been visiting our friend Roy Pearson at his gas station and automotive repair shop. Roy was always good for an odd job, which generally provided a bottle of cold soda and accompanying bag of peanuts to pour into the pop. Good stuff! On that particular day, I finished my task, polished off my treat, thanked Roy and headed homeward. My jaunt took me across the vacant lot to the east of his establishment. The summer had been long, hot and dry, so as I crossed the property a red, wispy dust trail arose in my wake. As I passed through the north end of the lot I saw a pointed object protruding from a cut bank. Hustling over to its location, I hurriedly excavated what turned out to be the tip of a large Anasazi spear point. This was a great find!
Navajo Horned Lizard and Arrowheads Basket - Lorraine Black (#223)
Turning the gray flint object over in my hand, I visualized how it might have looked when it was whole. The darn thing would have been a good six to eight inches long and one-and-a-half to two inches wide. If I could find the other half I would have a real treasure, so I spent the next two hours scouring the loose soil and digging into the cut bank. Finding only a few pottery shards, gnawed corn cobs and the remnants of long dead fires, my child-like exuberance finally wore off. Sitting back on my heels, I decided enough was enough. This was too much like work. Additionally, judging from the angle of the sun on the western horizon, it was almost suppertime. Momma Rose was a most excellent cook, but she did not tolerate her brood being late for dinner. To assure a healthy serving, one must be on time and well washed. Wiping my grimy hands on my once white t-shirt, I stood, dropped the spear point in the pocket of my cut-off jeans and hustled the remaining three blocks home.

As I came upon our house, I noticed my father standing at the front gate, speaking with a Navajo man he occasionally employed. Old Jim was handy in many trades and was a hard worker to boot. I knew my parents respected him for his work ethic and integrity. As I walked up to the men, my father looked me over and said, "Where have you been boy? You are dirty, filthy and stinky!" Without saying a word, I reached into my pocket and produced the spear point. Before I could react, Old Jim reached out and plucked the artifact from my fingers. Looking it over carefully, he stated emphatically, "This is not for you, it belongs to the spirits of the ancient ones and must be returned. Bad things might happen if you do not return it to its other half." "Bad things my biscuit!" I mumbled as I reached for the point. Old Joe dodged my reach and handed the point to my father.

Dad took the tip, looked it over carefully and asked where I had found it. I told him and, like a fast moving summer thunderstorm, a troubled expression crossed his brow. "One way or another Old Jim's right", said my father. "The man who owns that property would not appreciate you digging for artifacts on his land. Take it back and leave it where you found it." "Stink!" I said out loud, receiving a harsh look from both men. Hustling back to the site, I came to the conclusion my father had a deep and abiding respect for the property rights of others, and that he might be just a bit superstitious. Having returned to the lot, I dropped to my knees and re-entered one of my initial excavations. I dug the cavity as far back into the cut bank as my well-tanned arm would reach, placed the point at the end and collapsed the tunnel. "If I can't have the tip of that spear point, no one else will either," I said to myself. When I returned home, Old Jim was gone, dinner was on the table and the point had been pushed from my mind.

Later that summer I saw Old Jim again. He knew I was still a bit miffed about his part in sabotaging my discovery, so Jim explained his beliefs over cold soda and peanuts. He told me all things found in or near an Anasazi ruin should be left alone, because there are spirits that protect belongings such as that point. Old Jim also told me about the Hero Twins and the journey they took to their father, the Sun. He spoke of the Sun's gift of flint armor, which helped the boys vanquish monsters preying on the Earth Surface People. When the twins were through with their work, they deposited the armor with the benevolent Horned Toad to guard and protect until the day it might be needed again. Later on, Grandfather Horned Toad gained the ability to nap arrowheads with his breath, these he left about the countryside for the people to find and gather as talismans. I learned you leave the ruins alone in respect of the dead buried there, but that it is all right to pick up a point on open ground and inhale its protective properties. That summer I found and returned a point. In doing so I discovered a rich and unique culture.

With warm regards,
Barry, Steve, Priscilla and Danny; The Team

Great New Items! This week's selection of Native American art!
Our TnT's purchased new treasures! Check out Traders in Training!

Enjoy artwork from our many collector friends in Living with the Art!

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