A Real Nice Piece of Flint

I found out a couple weeks ago that due to some past financial decisions, I have some work to do on my credit before I can buy my place in the Flint Hills. This news would have devastated the old me. I would have been sure this was a sign that it wasn’t meant to be and I’d have given up on the idea. The new me isn’t giving up. It was definitely a financial wake up call, but it was also much more than that. There has to be a reason my move has been delayed and I can’t wait to see what the reason or reasons are!

One particular Sunday I was feeling unsettled in the city and decided to take myself and my camera to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. Due to some typical Amy planning, I had to stop at Wal-Mart in Emporia… the temperature was inching up towards 80*, I was wearing jeans, had no water and no food. Once I was better outfitted for a day in the Kansas heat, I hit the trails.

I had forgotten my earbuds, so my soundtrack for the day was the wind in the grass, and the birds and bugs of the prairie. It was noisy and quiet and exactly what I needed. I wandered the paths for a couple hours, some were narrow dirt trails worn down over time, others were wide swaths of mown grass. These paths revealed the truth behind the hills being pasture land as opposed to farm land like much of Kansas. There is a lot of rock, both limestone and flint and it is very close to the surface. It’s no good for farming, but it sure is an amazing view!

As per usual, when in the Flint Hills, I was in awe of the landscape. Looking out at the hills more than where I was headed and doing my best to capture it with my camera. I happened to look down at just the right time and saw a piece of flint that made me stop. It was the perfect rock, in the perfect place.

And, it made me think of my Grampa. He loved to walk in the flint littered creeks and look for Native American artifacts. He always found one, too! I don’t know how he did it; he’d use his walking stick to flip over a rock and under it would be lying an artifact of some kind.

I went with him on occasion and I’d pick up a rock and hand it to him for his approval. He’d turn it over and over in his weathered hands, run his thumb over the edges and really look at it. During all of this careful inspection, I was just sure that this time I found something real. When he was done, he’d hand the rock back to me and say “That’s a real nice piece of flint, Aim.”

An arrowhead found by Grampa on one of our walks.

Devastated, I would throw the rock back in the creek and pick up the next one. I never did find an artifact, but I cherish the times in the creek with Grampa and the lesson I have just realized I learned on those walks. Spend some time with things, turn them over and examine their rough edges and while you may find it is not the treasure you were looking for, it could be a real nice piece of flint. And, sometimes that’s enough.


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