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Birthing Green From Ash and Dust

To the world outside our boundaries, the colors of the day are red, white, and blue, but here, the only ones that matter at the moment are brown, gray, and green: the first two by their unwelcome presence; the third by its accelerating absence.

We do not celebrate this day as any sort of holiday anyway, although when we were children, we both loved the fireworks. As adults now, though, this is just another workday for us. There is much work to be done, after all. The fireworks scare the dogs and horses (and this year, put all our lands art risk of conflagration). But most of all, there is no reason for us to celebrate a colonizers’ holiday: What it marks as “independence” was in fact a a turning point in a concerted campaign to strip our ancestors of theirs, and on their own lands besides.

Instead, we celebrate our independence, our sovereignty, every day, in the way we live our lives, in the light of our traditions and the spirits of the ancestors.

Still, there’s little cause for celebration of any sort here right now: Drought and wildfire have seen to that. The earth here, which should by now be lush and green and full of life, is browning fast, blades of grass and hay alike burning up in the fields, crops and wildflowers unable to grow. Even the willows show dangerous signs of yellowing in the hot hazy sun.

On this day, as always, we work and pray for a return of genuine sovereignty, genuine independence for our peoples: a sovereignty and independence that begins with the health and well-being of our Mother Earth. For this, too, is the legacy of colonialism, of ripping the freedom and humanity from others, this devastation and destruction visited upon the lands to which our spirits are bound at least as much as our bodies.

The buzzwords of the day are not enough. Conservation, renewables, technological advancement — none of these is enough. It must go much farther, much wider, much deeper . . . much further back, to a return to older ways and values. In this small erstwhile paradise halfway up The Dragon’s Tail, this place of changing seasons, sufficient water, and a green earth, if we are to hold onto what remnants such an indigenous Eden remain, we must find ways of renewing our Earth, reviving her, resurrecting the life holding on by the thinnest of threads and birthing green from ash and dust.

In its way, it’s a metaphor for our own existences, our own survival. It’s also a charge and a process that finds expression in today’s featured work. 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. Other views 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

Our waters here are near-nonexistent now, despoiled over too many generations, stolen, wasted, contaminated to the point that that which supplies us all is reduced to less than a trickle for most of us. No relief has come from the skies, only more heat and haze, wind and smoke.

Tomorrow, the forecast assures us, there is a better than even chance of rain. But we have learned in the hardest of ways not to put stock in dominant-culture predictions. Instead, we adapt, we evolve, we work to conserve and protect . . . and we pray.

Today’s work reminds us that life is their, nascent, invisible, just waiting for its chance to be born. We, this collective called humanity, have made its passage into this world so much more difficult than it ever needed to be. In so doing, we have deprived ourselves of the beauty of the wildflowers, the medicine of the waters, the green of life itself.

Sovereignty is not born alone; she requires the midwives of courage and strength of heart. Neither is independence. Nor, any longer, are the children of Mother Earth herself. If we are to be sovereign, if we are to be free, if we are to live in a world of health and harmony, our task now is to midwife all of these into existence once again.

It is time to birth a green new world from ash and dust, with courage and a strong heart.

~ Aji








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