Uncovering the past

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It started simple enough. He found a flat rock about the size of a lily pad and started working on it. He chipped off this side and knocked off that until he had it shaped like a small triangle with edges. He tied it to a slender shaft with feathers on the other end and stashed it in a leather bag. Three days later while walking through the forest he pulled out that slender shaft with the triangle rock, fastened it to his bow and shot from thirty steps away at a 160 lb. whitetail deer. Unfortunately, to the hungry hunter’s disappointment, it whizzed by three inches above the deer’s shoulder and went another twenty yards before embedding itself just beneath the leaves and soil. Search as he might, the owner could not find his creation. With darkness approaching, he turned and headed back home, a good two hour walk. “Well,” he thought. “At least I have two more arrows.”

And there the arrow sat.

Five days later a hard rain came and matted the leaves over the arrow. By the summer, dirt had washed over the shaft so it now was a good two inches below the surface. The following spring, the wooden shaft was rotting and the feather decomposing such that in two years time there was little left save the triangular shaped rock.

And there the rock sat. It dulled in color slightly, but there it sat.

One day, men with strong backs entered the forest with long metal saws and cut the timber and hauled the logs out on wagons. Later, more men came with animals and grubbing hoes and block and tackle and removed the stumps. One ornery mule named “Whiskers” stepped on that rock while pulling a log and broke off the tip. But still the rock stayed in the soil, sinking deeper with time.

The rains came and the winters came and the land that was now a field saw many crops come and go. Small tractors came and big tractors came pulling big disks and plows and planters. And the big tractors pulled the big plows deeper and deeper until one day the rock was picked up from ten inches deep and turned up right on top of the ground facing the sun at day and the moon at night.

Per chance a farmer was walking across that field with his head down and noticed a triangular shaped object. He reached down and picked up that rock.

After four hundred years, this thing that was shaped by human hands was again touched by human hands.

Upon picking it up from the soil, the farmer knew that he was holding in his hands a piece of history. He could touch it and feel it. As he held it in his hand, he looked around at the landscape and imagined what once was. And he marveled that history was rising up out of the land and telling its story.