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The NDN Silver Blog

Today is one that occurs only twice a year: a moment when world and light are momentarily at midpoint to each other. Later this morning, we shall move into that moment known as the Vernal Equinox, when the sun’s light shines equally on the earths’ northern and southern hemispheres. It will, of course, be over before our slow […]

On this last day of official winter, the air smells and tastes of spring. It began brilliantly sunny, and will end that way, too. For now, though, the clouds hang low, sprinkling the land with the scent, if not the fact, of the moisture that lies hidden in their mass. It is cold — at […]

For once this winter, it seems the forecast might be accurate: Snow appears to be on the way. But this day dawned deceptively warm and bright, the air mild and spring-like, light gold and earth increasingly green. Gray-violet clouds have moved in since, and the rising wind is expected soon to reach dangerous speeds — […]

Official spring is still three days in the offing, but here the season arrived harnessed side by side with winter. Mid-March, and much of the grass is as green as the ubiquitous St. Patrick’s Day decorations, already standing tall and strong above a gold-brown earth. The world is flowering — early and mid-drought, but no less […]

It finally snowed yesterday evening — a dusting only, little more than an inch in most areas, but snow nonetheless. We awakened this morning to still-gray skies, violet clouds limned by the brilliant dawn light. For a few moments, the earth turned pink, the snow tinted shiny pale shades of coral and rose, until the […]

Here at Red Willow, spring arrived yesterday. It’s not that it was a brilliantly sunny day, unseasonably warm with a high well into the sixties. There have been a few of those thus far, although yesterday was perhaps the most beautiful yet. No, here there is one defining marker for the first day of spring: the […]

On this day, we are seeing the children outstrip their elders: reaching deep to find roots solid within the earth, standing strong and stepping up, moving forward relentlessly against more powerful forces that use their lives as pawns in commerce and authority and that have intimidated adults into silence and apathy. Our generation, country-wide, has failed […]

These final few days of official winter have ushered in spring clouds along with the winds. We have not been blessed with rain, but the intermittent gray veil offers hope, if not much else. This has been the driest winter anyone remembers, and here at Red Willow, memories are long. The elders here possess not […]

This is the time of year when our whole world is unsettled, our feet unsteady upon its surface. The winds are too often strong enough, quite literally, to blow one away; balance is hard come by, harmony only faint in memory deafened by the gale. Spring, now only days away even by the calendar’s reckoning, […]

A still and silent dawn, and a world that smells of rain. We awakened to such a world this morning. While the dominant culture is busy trying to control daylight itself, our eyes are on the clouds, our ears attuned to the winds. We need rain, and desperately, and this morning’s air was heavy with […]

At this moment, the mercury hovers near sixty. Snow is forecast as early as tonight. This is the winter/spring threshold here in the land of the red willows, where even we who walk at the mountains’ feet do so at an elevation of 7,500 feet above sea level. This is the arid high desert, but […]

This is the hard season, the sacred season — the time when our small world here literally goes to ground. The Pueblo itself is closed to outsiders; the annual ceremonial period has begun. It is a time to return to first things, to history and ancestry, identity and tradition. It’s also a return to first […]

The first official day of spring may be nearly two weeks off yet, but the season’s herald arrived these two weeks past. This is the windy season, the time of year when the trickster spirits of the air are given free rein to wreak their havoc upon our small world. For much of Turtle Island, this seems […]

A cold northwest wind carried the first grosbeak to us today. He was the scout: Every year, a solitary male shows up first to make sure that this place still welcomes his kind; then, before the day is out, the clan begins to arrive in small mixed groups. They are children of the late-winter winds, these […]

Dawn, and the winds are already up. Here at Red Willow, we are fast entering the trickster season: Spring, a time of invading spirits of mischief and caprice. On a day when the high is expected to reach fifty, the mercury currently hovers in the low teens. For the first time in years, the Grackle […]

By week’s end, the catkins were born. It’s a bit of softness in a harsh season, all round curves and small velvet blooms that somehow survive the hard angles of the end-of-winter winds. Official spring is only days out now, just over two weeks, in fact. But the weather here is predictable mostly in its unpredictability, […]

It’s hard to maintain perspective when the wind bends your body double and sends the dust to blind your eyes. Such is the case today: brilliantly sunny, a world awash in golden light — and nigh impossible to appreciate its beauty as we are buffeted by the gale. Worse, these are the bone-dry winds of […]

And still there is no rain. The day began beautifully, but now the wind is rising, and any chance of precipitation remains only a distant dream. The forecast for the next two weeks predicts more of the same, leaving us to wonder whether late-winter snows will soon be a thing of the past, relegated only […]

And so we come to the end of a long and difficult week. Mere survival has seemed tenuous this week, as though winds and tides might blow the earth off its very axis. A bare and thirsty earth, far too dry for this time of year, feels shaky and uncertain beneath our feet. At times like this, […]

Yesterday’s snow amounted to a few widely-spaced flurries and a bare and momentary accumulation of sleet. It was gone almost before it began, fleeing over the peaks to the east and leaving long sunlit shadows in its wake. In this place we are long accustomed to praying for rain, but such prayers are sent aloft […]

After yesterday’s sunny high of fifty-four, snow is forecast for today. Flurries already mist the peaks, although here at the lower elevations, it will be some time, if at all, before it arrives from the west. There are clouds to all directions, but there is no water on the land. In this place, there are […]

We missed out on the ice storms this winter. We mostly missed out on winter, for that matter. We’ve had no sub-zero temperatures and almost no snow, so the lack of ice shouldn’t really come as any sort of surprise. Normally by now we’ve endured numerous storms, and the usual pattern here has always been […]

Color is leaching slowly back into our world here now. It’s early, true: more usually, very little visible change occurs before the vernal equinox. But this is not an ordinary year. On Valentine’s Day, the shade of the willows shifted. Perhaps it was an expression of the Earth’s own love, a small but tangible gift […]

Today illustrates perfectly why spring is the harshest season here. Yes, I know it’s not spring by the calendar’s lights, but in a winter where the temperature has yet to descend below zero, when there have been near as many sixty-degree days as ten-degree nights, spring has been here for a while now. The last […]

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