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The NDN Silver Blog

There have been times and places in which the phrase “born for the fire” would have been a curse, an acknowledgment of sure and certain death. For our peoples, at this time, in this place? It’s prophecy. Today has been a day better suited to water than its elemental opposite: hard rain and hail, an […]

We await the rain, but this seems to be much more a day of fire. At dawn, a thin haze embraced us on all sides, just enough to blur the peaks and subdue, every so slightly, the golden glow of the sun. Now, this afternoon, small twinned plumes of blue-gray smoke rise toward the southwest, […]

A warrior’s fire is a flame that burns deep within the spirit. At its best, it burns for justice, to resist oppression and defend the vulnerable and the innocent. Like any flame, it can be warped and directed to other, less noble ends. Our peoples have always known these risks. It’s why, in so many […]

The light is a funny thing: by turns seemingly visible and then its opposite — at one moment, thing in itself; at the next, effect only. Its source, of course, is most certainly a tangible thing, and just as certainly it is fortunate that it is too far away for us to touch. Look too long, […]

In this season, the most distant fires are brought close to home: so close, in fact, that their glow is visible in the opposite direction. Here at Red Willow, the sun is the greatest fire. In this season, the season of the rains, it dwells in skies lit variously white and gold and red and […]

This is the season of fire in the sky. It’s contradictory; it is, after all, the season of water, too, of flooding monsoonal rains. But the rains of the day birth the fire of the night, or at least of the twilight. I should qualify the first statement: There is another season that can be […]

The spirits of the air are often invisible: They dwell in worlds where it is not given to us to walk. We know they are there, as surely as we feel the warmth of the sun on our faces, see the light of moon and stars upon our path, feel the touch of the winds […]

It is spiderweb season here. The outside world tends to associate them with autumn, because of Halloween, but those are technically cobwebs — ancient and long-abandoned netting covered in dust, left to the decay of a haunted house. Spiderwebs that are in use? Those have, for me, at last, always been a phenomenon of the […]

Sometimes prayers are not enough. There are days when we need to call on other spirits, too: for protection, for strength, for courage; for the power of medicine and the wisdom found in the world of dreams. And on some days, we need them all combined. Today is one of those days, one of weather extremes […]

Today’s throwback will take us not far into the past at all: only about three weeks ago, just about the time the first small summer wind spirits began to show themselves here, far later than usual. It was a striking bit of serendipity, and perhaps synchronicity too, not only here but in some of the […]

At this time of year, travel can be a risky proposition, particularly when the journey takes one through deep canyons and winding mountain roads. The thunderheads build daily, but the storm goes when and where it will, and often, we find ourselves trying to outrun it. Yesterday, we followed the storm home. It had already delivered […]

Air is wind. Air is light. Air is the space between: earth and sky; this world and the world(s) beyond. There are other worlds in the air, those that exist outside of our perception and reach — most of the time. But every once in a while, the spirits afford us a glimpse, a touch, […]

Summer here is an elemental season, all earth, air, fire, water. We are fortunate that the third of those is tamped down, at least for the moment: We spent all of June beneath an oppressive haze of smoke, the product of multiple wildfires, not the least of which were two that burned dangerously close. Normally, our windy season […]

Rain was promised for this day, but the clouds dance insolently around us, encircling us on all sides yet never deigning to move in overhead. The air is oppressive, the sun tauntingly bright; the earth itself is hot enough to burn the skin. Even the animals seem enervated, unwilling to do much that requires movement […]

An hour’s rain yesterday, and today our whole world flowers. The trees are lush and heavy with leaves, the corn in the garden already more than mere shoots; out in the land beyond the hayfields, the sage grows full and silvery green. It’s a gift of the water, yes, but also a gift of the […]

It is pouring. The spirits have done their work, it seems: Despite the weather service’s dismissive forecast of 20%, we are now in the throes of a major storm. In the garden, new corn shoots rising bravely from dry and dusty earth will be glad for the water, if feeling a little battered by the […]

Rain is in the offing, but whether it will touch down here, who can say? Yesterday, we were given the gift of three or four small brief showers, mostly while the sun shone white-hot and bright. Today, a few clouds have moved in overhead, lowering the temperature below the ninety-degree threshold at last, but they […]

The earth is red here, the heat even moreso. On a day when the temperatures were projected for only the eighties, we have long since passed ninety. We have a few brave green shoots emerging in the garden, plenty of hardy wildflowers . . . and yet rain has been notable only for its absence. […]

It’s popular, over the last two or three generations or so, for the dominant culture to talk about the sacredness of Mother Earth. There have, of course, been outliers over the course of that culture’s history: The Romanticism and Transcendentalism Movements of the first half of the Nineteenth Century come to mind, with influences from […]

These are the long hot days of summer, when the shadows stretch eternally across a warm red earth. Wings and I have been spending as much time as possible working on the land, with the soil: tilling, cultivating, planting. The corn is in, most of the squash, a portion of the beans. Summer these days […]

We have spent the week just past on small transformative spirits: butterflies, and their capacity for metamorphosis and emergence, transformation and transcendence. As metaphor, we tend to focus perhaps overmuch on the third of those acts, regarding the preceding two as necessary but by themselves insufficient conditions for it. We forget that the effect  — and […]

This is a significant day here: It is Wings’s birthday, and it is also the third birthday of The NDN Silver Blog. As we come simultaneously to end of a week in which we have featured the spirits of metamorphosis even as we begin a new calendar month, it’s fitting that we should feature an […]

Metamorphosis is a cycle, a circle — in generational terms, no longer any definitive beginning, and no foreseeable end. In that respect, it is like our own existence, our traditions and beliefs and ways of understanding our world and our role in it: a sacred hoop, eternal and unbroken, connecting us forever both with the […]

In these hot hazy days of summer, magic happens at night. At night, the air is cool but not cold, clear of the suffocating veil of smoke from the wildfires that smolder insistently nearby. At night, a crescent moon swings high in the sky, and the stars fall into formation to cast a soft silvery […]

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