by Bob Ahrens
At first it was real hard not to get frustrated. All I find are bits and pieces! Yes, there is that nice scraper (my first find ) but other than that, just fragments. There’s a Pedernales base here, a Kinney base in the garden, odd pointy ends here and there and a piece of probable Angostura over by the barn: No pattern, no concentration and my back hurts from walking around hunched over all the time.
Still, these bits and pieces have touched me. My frustration has changed to a sense of reverence at the skill and artistry that I see in my finds. My bits and pieces are more than just “Indian Rocks” like the sign I once saw at a flea market. Each is a small window to the past through which, if you give it the slightest chance, you can see the hands that made it and hear the voice of the past. Through my finds, I am learning to listen and beginning to see.
In my minds eye, I see gnarled hands, calloused and scarred from years in the toil for survival. . . . yet these rough hands make points so impossibly fine and delicate that I am filled with wonder. I also see young hands, guided by old hands, being taught more than just “this end is pointy and sharp, the other end isn’t”. No, the hands are teaching skill, technique and dedication to the goal of absolute perfection. As the hands work there is talk of culture, pride, honor and even, perhaps, the mysteries of life and the reality of death in a hard land. Those old hands and voices teach me as well. Bridging thousands of years in an instant, they enrich my life.
Though I may get frustrated at times with bits and pieces, in the back of my mind, I know, out there on this meager 20 acres, among the fragments of my imagination, is a complete “museum quality something” just waiting for me. When I find it, when I hold it in my hands, I will pause, just as I do now with even the smallest piece, and honor for a moment the skilled hands of the artist. Then, I will hoop and holler and run around like a complete idiot.
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