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A Mysterious Light

Today is both sunny and gray, golden light rendered hazy by the smoke of nearby wildfires. The heat is back, oppressively so; it holds the haze down close upon the earth, like a gathering storm that holds no hope of rain.

We may have no monsoonal weather today (although yesterday, a rainless windstorm blew up beneath iron-gray clouds at day’s end), but the look and feel of the day is one elemental violence simmering just out of range, ready to boil over in the beat of a hummingbird’s wing. Mystery rules: Will the rains come in defiance of the forecast, and tamp down the smoke? Or will the drought intensify again, allowing the fires to spread? In this place, fire is it own special storm, and there is nothing metaphorical about it. The question for today is whether the light, yellow-gray though it may be, will usher in the precipitation we need so desperately, or merely reflect the flames that are its earthly counterpart at this season.

It’s a fitting day, in other words, for today’s featured work — one-half of a collection in miniature, its counterpart having found its home this time last year. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

Light In the Storm Anticlastic Cuff Bracelet

It is in the eye of the storm that we are afforded a glimpse of its passing, when the clouds part momentarily to let the light descend. Wings has captured the glow of those rays in this anticlastic cuff, as big and bold as the storm itself, as bright as the light that transcends it. The band is wrought of sixteen-gauge sterling silver, heavier than usual for the shaping required of an anticlastic band, and sloped gently upward on either side. Its surface is free of adornment save a row of chased traditional symbols that run its entire length: stylized thunderheads paired together at their bases to form a sig of the  Four Sacred Directions, each mated pair embracing an Eye of Spirit, that which watches over us even in the fiercest storm. At its center, elevated upon a small sterling silver cylinder, rests another representation of Spirit’s Eye: the light itself, caught and held fast in a massive cabochon of dove-gray labradorite. The stone possesses breathtaking depth and clarity, shot through with angled inclusions like sheets of rain and refracting the light into a gold-tinged rainbow of color. Hand-stamped stars of various shapes and sizes spread stardust along the cuff’s inner band. Band is 1-11/16″ across; cabochon is 1-3/4″ long by 11/16″ high (dimensions approximate). Other views shown below. First in Wings’s new series, The Light Collection.

Sterling silver; labradorite
$1,800 + shipping, handling, and insurance

This piece was created to reflect the power of a storm of a very different sort. The light, however, remains remarkably similar: pale, wan, as though sky and air have become jaundiced by holding the rain overlong. Yesterday, the skies turned from turquoise to cobalt to many shades of gray, ushering in a wind so fierce it bent the trees near-double, so capricious it sent the rain entirely around us. It left us with light in the storm, yes, but also a vortex of heat and cold and wind and dust, and our now seemingly-eternal mystery of whether the rain will ever fall upon us again.

It is a question of consequence, and one whose answers have consequences for our very survival.

Now, as the smoke moves in more heavily, scarring the sky and veiling the peaks, we seek answers from the spirits, hoping our prayers are not unheard.

And for now, we watch the skies, searching for signs of rain, seeking hope in a mysterious light.

~ Aji








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