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A Prayer for the Green

At last, it feels like fall here:. Cold weather has come on a sharp-edged wind; rain is predicted for today and tomorrow, with subfreezing lows and possible snow to follow.

Such green as remains will not be here for long now.

We picked what will likely be the last round of raspberries yesterday; drought notwithstanding, the two raspberry bushes Wings planted for me several years ago flowered into a thicket this year. They fruited late, and the berries remained hard and white for a couple of extra months. The few rains we have been granted over the last month brought the berries suddenly to fruition, and we have harvested them three times now. But the freezing temperatures to come, combined with the rain, is unlikely to give the scores of berries remaining time to mature.

The air is now cold enough, even absent precipitation, to require a fire for warmth. Last night, we marked the first year of sleeping in our home by building the first fire of the season, and I rebuilt it at dawn to ward off the chill of vanishing night. The house is warm, the wind is rising, and the clouds are slowly moving in from the northwest.

For now, though, gold and silver light fans across the eastern sky. In a matter of minutes, the sun will gain the ridgeline, and the light will spill over the peaks to wash the land in pale gold. There is no greening of the earth now, only its opposite, and yet, even among the gold and amber, crimson and bronze, plenty of green remains to remind us, at least for a few more days, that all such changes are transitory.

Here, though, we are fortunate to have a greening of the earth of sorts even in winter: As the foliage of the deciduous trees turns and curls and spirals and falls, it thins out the cover of the mountain slopes, allowing the rocky brown crags of earth to show through once more. What remains is a blanket of evergreens, threadbare here and there, yes, but still full and lush and warm over the balance of the peaks. We have our own smaller versions down here at their feet, too — no soldier pines, but stocky, sturdy piñon and lacy juniper scattered around the land.

And in these final few hours of Indian Summer, when the highs will feel more June than October even as the nights hint at the winter to come, we have a pair of featured works in the colors of both seasons — not matching, precisely, but complementary, a cuff and a ring wrought in similar fashion with similar jewels. We begin with the cuff, a spectacular tribute to the shades and shapes of our world here. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

The Greening of the Earth Cuff Bracelet

The greening of the Earth finds full expression in summer, a manifestation of fertility and gift of renewal. Wings honors season and spirit with this bold new cuff of solid sterling silver, hand-milled in a flowering pattern and set with five spectacular green turquoise stones. The high-grade freeform center cabochon, likely from Colorado’s Evans Mining District, manifests in a rich green the color of a great deep lake studded with small coppery islands of red-gold earth; it rests in a scalloped bezel trimmed with twisted silver. The center cabochon is flanked by a matched pair of deep teal-green rectangular cabochons, lightly domed, beveled at the corners, intensely-hued and traced with faint white webbing and traces of inky purple matrix, both also resting in scalloped bezels and trimmed with twisted silver. At either end sits a single small round cabochon of turquoise, each in mixed teal blues and greens with matrices of moss green and violet and ivory, each set into a simple low-profile bezel. All stand boldly above the band, brightly polished silver with the floral millwork thrown into sharp relief and highly textured to the touch. The band is 6″ long by 1″ across; the center cabochon is 7/8″ high at the highest point by 5/8″ across at the widest point; the rectangular cabochons are 9/16″ long by 3/8″ across; and the round cabochons are 3/8″ across (dimensions approximate). Designed jointly by Wings and Aji. Side views, showing the detail of the smaller cabochons, appear above and below.

Sterling silver; natural teal-green American turquoise (likely from the
Colorado Evans Mine and Nevada’s Pilot Mountain and Royston Mines)

$1,995 + shipping, handling, and insurance

We still have such rich greens here, but the coppery earth has begun to assert itself more boldly. Most of the aspens have not yet turned, and around the house, at the land’s lowest (and thereby most naturally irrigated) point, the grass remains thick and lush and bright, at least on this morning. By tomorrow, that may have changed, too.

And while we have had no water in the pond since last winter, and thus no water plants save the hardy marsh grasses that survive along its banks, as recently as the day before yesterday, we had one of its traditional visitors: Dragonfly, probably in search of a last little warmth and sustenance before moving on for the winter. The ring of today’s featured pair evokes the imagery of Dragonfly’s natural habitat, one we have not seen for a year and more now. From its description in the Rings Gallery here on the site:

Water Lilies Ring

Water lilies are the flowering spirits of summer mornings, fragrant, delicate,  bright momentary beauties of warm-weather ponds. Their lives are brief but brilliant, intensely-hued and -scented gifts to those who think to look for them. Wings brings their likeness to hand year-round with this bold new ring, a stone the color of the waters set upon a wide solid sterling silver band milled in floral pattern. The band’s design calls to mind the lilies’ graceful petals and the spiraling orbs of their pads, each spiraling, flowing line thrown into sharply-textured relief. At the center sits a lightly domed and beveled rectangular cabochon of deep teal at the perfect midpoint between blue and green, atrace with lines of delicate white foam and inky purple depths, the colors of a sheltered summer pond. The stone sits gently in a scalloped bezel trimmed with twisted silver. The band is 1/2″ wide; the setting is 3/4″ long by 5/8″ wide; the cabochon is 9/16″ long by 3/8″ wide (dimensions approximate).

Sterling silver; deep blue-green turquoise
$525 + shipping, handling, and insurance

This day feels, in its way, like a farewell of sorts: a chance to visit one last time with the spirit of summer before fall takes full control, catching us up and carrying us headlong and heedless down the path to winter. Even so, the greens of today’s featured works, and the spirits they embody and evoke, have been ephemeral at best this year, existing more as memories of a season than its tangible form and shape.

But perhaps memory is enough: enough to remind us of the way life has been here, its beauty and diversity, its abundance and prosperity. Perhaps that is enough to induce us to work to restore it, as far as is possible within the small powers granted to our kind.

And work it will take, and hope, and faith, and vision. It will also require the aid of more powerful spirits. And perhaps that is today’s task: to say a prayer for the green, and for its safe return.

~ Aji
















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