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The NDN Silver Blog

It appears that our summer monsoon season is here. It’s different this year, though; the usual patterns no longer hold. It’s of a piece with our overall climate patterns, which have become nearly unrecognizeable over the last year or two. Most troubling is the tendency for storms to deliver extreme wind, but virtually no precipitation, with […]

The rain began at five minutes to midnight last night, the first gift of summer. Oh, the calendar marks today as the Summer Solstice, and in truth, it is the first full day of the new season. but the moment of the solstice itself occurred in full dark, at 10:24 PM local time last night. […]

One day off summer, and the world is in flames. They burn perilously close to us, too, the closest wildfire having jumped the fireline so that now there are now two discrete burn sites, with two giant plumes of smoke rising to drift eastward and settle over our small world here. Here at Red Willow, the risk […]

The title of today’s post flows in two directions: It can refer to the love one has for small things, or to the love one receives from them. It’s apt for us here today, in both respects. It’s a state of mind from which the larger world could benefit, as well. In this country, the […]

It has been so hot and dry here that yesterday evening, as the first bank of clouds in a week moved slowly past far to the north, the clear smell of rain drifted down to us on the twilight air. There will be no rain for us. At this hour, only a few white trace […]

The morning is young, and already the mercury is passing eighty, the moon an inverted white crescent high in a turquoise sky. The smoke from the wildfire in Bonita Canyon has settled around the horizon, but for the moment, it has not advanced overhead. That will change; by early afternoon, sky and air alike will […]

The water came. For days, the pond has been as dry as the soil on the land surrounding it. With temperatures hitting ninety, hot high winds, and the smoke of a nearby wildfire settling close upon the land, our small world here has been positively arid. The long-range forecast speaks of drought, a zero-percent chance […]

It is hot and dry and dusty again today, the light clouded by heavy smoke from the El Rito wildfire current tearing through Bonita Canyon. Air and sky alike have been gray since dawn, and breathing is difficult: Headaches, congestion, burning eyes, and coughing are the order of the day, and we have been wearing […]

Sometimes, snakes and earth alike wear flowers. As I wrote earlier this week, the relationship between Snake and this place (and its people) is a complex one. Even the smallest are related by clan and kind to the great Horned Serpent, the water serpent that the Tewa-speaking peoples south and west of here call Avanyu. […]

I said yesterday in this space that an encounter with Snake might prove profitable: that, if one appeared, he might bring the water with him. It’s much needed right now: By yesterday, the pond was again completely dry, the ditches still lined with damp mud but not a single drop of water flowing through their […]

Have you ever looked at a snake? I mean really looked at it? I have clear memories of encounters with snakes as a child, small harmless garters with whom we shared the land. I have no idea which of those meetings was my first. I do recall, however, my first look at a wide variety […]

The air has been smoky for several days, the product of a wildfire at El Rito, said to have been sparked by lightning just over a week ago. As daytime temperatures approach the ninety-degree mark, it makes for days that feel heavy and oppressive: hot, bright, and hazy, with winds that steal one’s breath for […]

We have spent much of this week looking at the role of the original dream weaver, one whose existence predates either pop stars or photo editing, and by millennia, too: Spider Woman, or Grandmother Spider, as she known to some of our peoples, the one who taught us to use her web to catch our […]

We have no spiders today, nor moons, either. We do have earth spirits, small and otherwise. We also have the women, the grandmothers, who tell their stories. It’s fitting, perhaps, that today’s featured works should have been created by a woman. I don’t mean the fact that these two pieces embody women: Jessie Marcus, the […]

In the world of dreams, sometimes the spirits come together to show us the way. In the case of today’s featured work, these spirits couldn’t be more different — and yet, in their own respective ways, each serves as healer and hope, guardian and guide. This is a work from about eight or nine years […]

We know that Grandmother Spider is a giver and gatekeeper, a guardian and guide. We know that teaching and wisdom are hers to give, patience and protection and the power of weaving, too. But perhaps she is also a dreamer, a visionary? One who not only guards our dreams, but dreams them with us? Perhaps, as […]

In our cultures, there is no metaphorical analogue for the Black Widow. Perhaps there’s a reason for that. In the dominant culture, the notion of a Black Widow is one that is in part a category of, and in part a subcategory over, that which has to be known as a “gold digger,” albeit one […]

Sometimes, other spirits defy all our best efforts to capture their essence. Two days ago, Wings found this small being on top of the wood and glass jewelry case in his studio. He took shot after shot with the camera on his phone, but the fuzzy legs and body against coarse wood rendered every image […]

There are days when love is all we have. Today feels like one such. The day itself is beautiful, our warmest yet: blue skies, green leaves, golden sun, white clouds — and yet, fate throws up obstacle after obstacle in our paths, not even enough time for necessary labor, none at all to enjoy the […]

Our monsoon season is already here, although we have seen precious little rain from it. What we do have, as is typical of these weeks and months, is an abundance of ethereal light. In this place, the elements are their own spirits, free and fully animated beings that dance to the drum of the earth’s […]

Our world has become so big and complex and overfilled with things that isolation comes easily now. Oh, not genuine isolation; it’s extremely difficult, actually, to find anything approaching genuine solitude anywhere anymore. But isolation of the spirit is something else entirely. It’s easy to feel alone, even in the presence of multitudes. And it’s […]

There is a sense of freedom that accompanies the dark. There are dangers that lurk in its depths, true, ones that we cannot perceive clearly, but neither are they able to surveil us. It’s another thing entirely to be free in the light. Our lives are circumscribed, bound on all sides by laws and rules […]

It is the last day of May, the end of an unusually cold month here: Only a few days ago, the mercury was still falling below the freezing mark overnight, and it has reached eighty only once. Normally, this would have been a month for planting, and for watching the early flowers bloom, but this […]

In other parts of this land mass, people tend to think of winter as the time when the walls close in: when the days are short and dim, the nights long and cold, and there is never enough light, nor enough warmth, to do the thousand and one things that require doing. Here, that season […]

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