Inexplicably In Sync
By Amy Hatfield
A span of time - a day or week or month, for instance - can adopt a theme or pattern unprompted by anything. Not, at least, anything human minds can detect. Yet we often notice a family of related events inexplicably in sync with each other.
Before you assume I smoked too much reefer this morning, here's an example: June started like any other month at the ATA. I looked at the calendar and identified the biggies. We had a Board meeting coming up, and we planned to launch registration for the Trade Show. From there, I made a list of all the little details so I wouldn't get caught half-cocked while standing before the Board.
Before I could analyze my June game plan, it was sprinkled with the unanticipated. Imagine that. The first was an email from a gal named Janet Mosher. Roughly eight months earlier, Mosher visited Minnesota to represent the SunUte Community Center of Ignacio, Colo. at the National Recreation and Park Association Congress. Meanwhile, the ATA's Michelle Doerr committed to hosting an offsite institute at this same national event. Doerr used the institute to showcase archery for community and park-and-rec employees attending the event. Each participant also had a chance to compete with archery equipment. The winner received a $5,000 grant to be used for archery in their community. Mosher won the 5,000 bucks, and here's what she wrote Michelle on June 9:
The email was notable because archery reached a Native American community, which hasn't been a typical benefactor of ATA efforts, but one that unexpectedly received a chance at archery and readily embraced it.
Then, the inexplicable pattern began taking shape and crossed my mind when I connected with a freelance writer who edited a few pieces in this month's "Get Briefed." And guess what? He's a descendent of the Cherokee tribe.
The last piece of the inexplicable pattern came by way of Archery Headquarters in Chandler, Ariz. The shop's owner, Randy Phillips, put me to work for a day before the ATA's Board meeting began in June. My intent was to walk a day in a shop owner's shoes. While I was there, Phillips explained the urbanization that cropped up after his shop opened in the late 1980s. At first, his business sat among farm fields, one bar and the Ak Chin Indian Community that, as of 2000, had a population of 742. Today, the bar and fields are gone, replaced by a freeway, trendy restaurants and commercial retailers. Only the archery shop and Ak Chin Indian Reservation remain.
So within the unexpected encounters with Native Americans and their communities, I found the inexplicable pattern. June had a theme. At this point, you might think the pattern is a bit soft; a reach.
I concede to prompting the pattern a bit by looking for it. Native Americans were on my mind last month, thanks to a book called "American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon." I hauled it around in my messenger bag, toting it through airports and onto Arizona's sandy landscape. The book, written by Steven Rinella, describes a prominent mesa in Alaska where a ton of Paleo-Indian projectile points - possibly used to arrow buffalo - were discovered in 1978. Many of the points were mixed in campfire charcoal, and the charcoal yielded dates from 13,600 to 11,000 year ago.
That gives us a date in history so far removed from me that I can't visualize the time or what life must have been like. But, while I was in Arizona for the summer Board meeting last month, every time I drove by a mesa, I thought about that Alaskan mesa, those points and campfires, and the longstanding connection between man and arrow.
Did You Know?
The ATA provided the Iowa DNR $50,000 to pay for NASPl and archery recreation programs for the Des Moines Community Archery Program.