Monday, February 6, 2012
Found circa 1962, by my grandfather, in a furrow on his wheat farm outside Boharm, Saskatchewan. He mailed it to me in a small cardboard box, swaddled in layers of cotton batting. No writer usually (no time!), he took the time, the year before he died, to pen a story to his seven-year-old grandson, conjecturing about the Indian who might have shot a buffalo on the open plain, who knew how many hundreds or thousands of years before.
It was the treasure of my childhood, never more than an arm’s length from my bed, where I could retrieve and study it. A perfect arrowhead, with a gracile point, and a notched base so cleanly made it was impossible not to imagine it secured (by hide strips soaked and shrunk, I’d read somewhere) to the shaft. Strangely two-toned in colour: whitish as though frosted on top, but an almost translucent amber underneath.
Lost one day, it must be forty years ago. No warning or clue. Just gone. Both the arrowhead in its box and the note with the story under it. Missing it bitterly, I sensed the actions of the perfect thief, as perfect in his or her way as the arrowhead. The thief that, knowing what you value most, goes straight past your wallet or your passport to a faded cardboard box with yellowing cotton. An intimate thief. The secret thief.
Found the other day, as I was cleaning out my parents’ house prior to putting it up for sale. The tiny box, its cotton nest now beige, at the bottom of a bigger box at the rear of the lowest shelf in storage—the remotest corner of the house. Intact, the arrowhead, but with its tip snapped off along with one side of its base. Still no note.