Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Our bookshelves and window sills are cluttered with remembrances of those who used this piece of land before us. One of the real pleasures of hoeing tobacco, back when we grew it, was the possibility of turning up a spear point or a piece of flint or some other evidence of the Native Americans who camped in the big, mostly flat, bottom at the lower part of our farm. There is no record of permanent Indian villages in our county but the region was evidently a hunting ground and we think we can point to the part of our field where flint knappers plied their trade, leaving lots of chips and partially finished points. The big rose quartz spear point in the picture was my most spectacular find but we've also found innumerable points and scrapers and even a small cowrie-type shell with a drilled hole that suggests it once adorned a garment.
In the same fields we've found marbles and the china legs from small dolls -- children playing at the edge of the field while their parents worked a crop? The little bottle with the applicator was stuck between the logs of one of the barns on our property -- horse liniment? -- and the blue bottle turned up in a creek as did the flat rock with a hole in it.
The rock was, of course, my inspiration for Maythorn's Looker Stone (Old Wounds). The blue bottle was what I had in mind for Mr. Tomlin's laudanum (Signs in the Blood). And I only have to look out my bedroom window to see the cabin that is the original of Ben's (and Little Sylvie's) cabin. Inspiration everywhere!