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A Dance For A Future Yet to Come

It’s another bright hot day wrapped in haze, the pall of wildfire smoke having locked in low over the land now. Between the haze and the heat, it doesn’t feel much like fall.

Oh, I know the colonial calendar insists that it’s still summer, but there are other ways of reckoning season and time, and the most accurate ones understand that here are no hard lines here, especially not now with all the devastating disruption climate change has wrought. We could learn a thing or two, or ten or ten thousand, from the wild creatures with whom we share this space: They are confused, yes, but they don’t waste time getting bogged down in it; they know instinctively that their survival depends upon their ability to adapt, and so they do.

And so it has come to pass that the giant clan of hummingbirds have mostly departed, leaving only five, at last count, behind. So, too, have the vast majority of the wild bees moved in, although a few flashes of gold and silver still dance around the sage flowers and the chamisa. We still have, it seems, a solitary dragonfly, and while I have not seen the mourning cloak in a day or so, I suspect it is still here, in distant company with the lonely monarch that has summered with us this year. Their fluttering spirals seem unusually lonesome now, but still they persist, with faith in their own ability to adapt, hopes pinned firmly to the season’s promise as they move and turn in a dance for a future yet to come.

Today’s featured work is one of the dance, of the hope, of all the protection and promise of the spirits of this season at summer’s end. It’s one close to my own heart, for both its message and its messenger alike — a work, like the spirit it embodies, of transformational and even transcendent power. From its description in the Necklaces Gallery here on the site:

Butterfly Maiden Necklace

The Butterfly Maiden holds the light in her wings. In these ever-shorter days and lengthening dark, Wings summons her shape and gifts into being with this powerfully inspirited necklace. The pendant is cut freehand of solid sterling silver, forming the outline of her body wrought in stones arrayed to the Four Sacred Directions. Her body is an oval of glossy, liquid onyx; her wings, a pair of matched and angled cabochons of richly banded simbircite, glowing with the orange fire of the sun; her face is hawk’s eye, bold midnight blue banded with brilliantly chatoyant gold. Each cabochon is set into a scalloped bezel trimmed with twisted silver; a tiny stamped butterfly flutters over her own heart. Atop the Maiden is a broad, bold bail of sterling silver hand-stamped in a repeating pattern of thunderhead symbols laid base to base to point to the Sacred Directions. The pendant hangs from a cascade of highly polished sardonyx barrel beads, speckled and banded in shades of black and white, amber and copper, interspersed with pairs of small round sterling silver beads, all strung over sturdy and shimmering sterling silver chain. The center bead is flanked by a pair of larger, hand-made and hand-stamped silver beads, and four small round beads lead toward the findings at either end of the strand. The pendant is 3-7/8″ long, including the bail, by 2-1/16″ across at the widest point; the bail itself is 11/16″ long by 5/8″ across; onyx cabochon is 1-1/2″ long by 1-3/16″ across at the widest point; simbircite cabochons are 1-1/4″ across by 1-1/16″ high at the ends; hawk’s eye cabochon is 1-1/16″ across; bead strand is 20″ long (dimensions approximate). Close-up of pendant shown below. Designed by Aji; created by Wings.

Sterling silver; onyx; simbircite; hawk’s eye; sardonyx
$3,500 + shipping, handling, and insurance

Now, as the clock ticks toward midday, a faint breeze has begun the work of dissipating a little of the haze. It’s an uphill battle, like so much else now: too much fire, no water, and colonialism’s endless and deadly upheaval.

And yet, the breeze persists . . . and now, for the first time all day, the craggy face of El Salto is clearly visible, the sky behind it unmistakably blue.

The small spirits of the summer winds persist, too; we can see the smaller of their kind fluttering past the windows and over the fields. while the lonely larger ones spiral around the aspens and red willows. They know that winter is close now, migration closer still, and that survival depends upon their ability to adapt.

And so they do. And in the process we are granted the chance to witness — and to learn from — their work, at once celebration and ceremony: a dance for a future yet to come.

~ Aji








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