A few weeks ago I gave my youngest grandson a small box of arrowheads for show and tell. Five were black flint found near Assaria, Kansas, on or near my Great Grandfather’s farm by my grandfather and his older brothers. One was a dubious arrowhead I found as a kid on a beach at a Topeka, Kansas, reservoir. The last was a white flint arrowhead I found in a state park in Arkansas. Apparently they came home but where they are now is anyone’s guess. They were lost track of and I am trying to reconcile myself to their loss. They were just stuff as they were to the Native Americans who left them behind. But I belong to the age of collectors and they were one of hundreds of ties to my family’s past and I rue losing them.
A week ago I pulled out a jacket that I bought hastily last year the night before we jetted off for our peace study in Israel. I also bought some slacks because I learned we would attend at least one Sabbath worship service where jeans would be looked on disapprovingly. The jacket was just like the one I saw being worn by one of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s security detail when his party walked into a restarurant Claudia and I were at. Except that I’d bought a jacket at least a size too small. Today, less than a year afterward, the zipper is broken.
When I pulled it out of the closet I felt a bulge in an upper pocket and pulled out a piece of flint. I had found it at the huge Jewish cemetary facing Jerusalem. The graves were covered with stones left by mourners. They were some kind of token of remembrance. I carefully picked one off the ground rather than remove one from a grave. It appeared that the lot of the stones was to be repeatedly placed on new graves and washed off by rains only to be recycled over and over. Like the arrowheads they were only necessary for a short duration and not kept, as I had been doing, for posterity.
The arrowheads may turn up again but I suspect that’s not going to happen. I suspect the flint from Jerusalem will some day end up in one of my boxes of rocks and agates with no identification about its origen. There ought to be a good metaphor about life in this anecdote but I can’t put my finger on it at the moment. Maybe that itself is some sort of a metaphor.