My 11 year old son Jackson, has a keen interest in rocks and fossils. He has an ever growing collection, mostly stockpiled from various angling related excursions over the last several years. Fortunately for him, Texas, especially the area where we live, known as the "Hill Country", has an especially unique Geological and Archaeological past. I too have always had a keen interest in history, especially Texas history, and actually have a Bachelors Degree in Cultural Anthropology.
Last week my son Jackson and I were on one of our weekly rafting excursions on a new stretch of the Guadalupe. Like we normally do, we pulled up on an isolated gravel bar to stretch, have a drink and enjoy the stellar weather we've been having recently. As Jack always does, he began a very intense search for any sort of cool looking rock he could add to the pile back in his bedroom. Watching him hunt for rocks sparked a thought in my head; "I wonder if there are any Native American artifacts lying around here? It would be an understatement to say that Central Texas has a rich history of Native American occupation going back thousands of years. I swear not 15 seconds into my own search, I spotted lying at the water's edge, what is known as a uniface scraper. It was a bit unrefined but obviously worked and shaped by human hands (most likely Comanche) at some point in the distant past.
Although this is not the first time I've found a Native American artifact, the excitement and wonder of discovering something like this never seems to get old. It's an amazing thing to find, and hold something that another human created at best hundreds of years ago, and perhaps even much longer ago than that. While Jackson continued his search, I sat on the bank and thought about the individual who made this tool, and how much he/she and I share in common. Although our existence is separated by many centuries, and massive gaps in technology, we share at our core a very similar way of life. We both live(d) on the river, we both have a deep love and respect for the water and the land, and we both derive much of our sustenance not only from local crops but also from the local fish and game that inhabit the area.
As Jack and I paddled down the river, the spiritual kinship I felt with this individual became even more apparent and profound. It occurred to me that whoever manufactured this tool most likely was using it to process fish or game. Ironically, a skill and purpose not all that different from the rods I build or the flies I tie, or especially, the knives I make by hand. Needless to say, I came off the water last Monday with a lot to think about. One thing is for sure though, I am now hopelessly addicted to learning as much as I can about both the physical and spiritual connections we share with the original inhabitants of this land, and the common ways in which we live our lives.
Hope you all have a great week,