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A Road Made of Water

The Rain Road Cuff 2A

At this season, anything that might accurately be called “the rain road” might just as likely be a washout.

And yes, I mean that literally. We are under a flash flood watch here until tomorrow morning, but a look at the extended forecast is enough to predict that we will have more such watches before the week is out.

The summer rainy season is a dangerous time in this place: hail that destroys crops and shatters windows; downpours so heavy that they overflow the ditches, washing out entire roads and turning highways into rivers. Three years ago, the intersection between dirt road and highway at our north boundary was one such casualty, a product of the same storm that shattered our overhead vent. A river of water rushed down from the Rio Lucero, wiping out the walls that separated ditch from dirt road, sending tree limbs and small branches and the detritus of better than half a year barreling downward onto the highway, its lowest spot coinciding with the turn onto the dirt track. Traffic was halted on either side as the clouds twisted and turned, a rotational pattern spinning off tornadoes on our outskirts but luckily avoiding those foolhardy souls who exited their vehicles to wade knee-deep in the new-running river.

And it was foolhardy. The speed with which the rain road runs is awe-inspiring, an elemental force that, given the slightest shift in wind or other influence, will sweep a human body off its feet in an instant and carry it away, heedless of the dashing of soft tissues against banks and rocks. Every year, at least a few casualties occur statewide as a result of this phenomenon, usually people who fail to respect the power of the water, thinking it would be amusing to play in an arroyo while the current rushes down.

Living in an environment of elemental extremes gives one a healthy respect for the powers of earth and sky.

One of the lessons of this place is one that our ancestors all across the continent have always known: that power is not the same as authority, much less control; that power is, and it is our task to navigate it, to harness it for good while avoiding its capacity for destruction, either in the abstract or at our own hands.

It brings to mind the imagery inherent in today’s featured work, a work of harmony and balance for this season and the power it wields. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

The Rain Road Cuff 2B

The Rain Road Cuff Bracelet

In the arid land of the high desert, the Rain Road is a place of fertility and abundance. Wings charts the path to this place of prosperity with this cuff wrought in the colors of rain and sky. It begins with four substantial strands of sterling silver triangle wire, soldered together into one smooth length like rainfall banded together in a single powerful torrent. At the top, offset from the center, a lightly beveled turquoise cabochon in the shade of the sky stretches to the four corners of the world. The stone is trimmed in twisted silver, and at one side, a tiny ingot silver raindrop opens onto the band, the birth of the storm as it cascades downward along its own flowing road. The band is 5/8″ across; the stone is 1/4″ across (dimensions approximate). Another view shown below.

Sterling silver; Sleeping Beauty turquoise
$725 + shipping, handling, and insurance

 

All around us, blue-violet thunderheads close in, but at this moment, above us sits an open square of clear blue sky. We know that it will not last; even now, the clouds encroach overhead, dimming the sun that gives clear skies their shade of brilliant blue. Before long, what has been up to now an occasional sprinkle will turn to a cascade of rain, silver strands left to fall from Thunderbird’s claws.

And now, as I write, the great Spirit Raptor releases its song and fire, the blue overhead veils itself, the great dark mass to the west turns suddenly from violet to iron gray, and the first silver strands begin to fall. We have a heavy road ahead of us, a road made water to travel this day.

~ Aji

 

 

 

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