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The NDN Silver Blog

Today’s skies were a fierce blue, the kind that preside over the brightest, hottest days of summer. It was a bit of shock to see the clouds burn off so thoroughly with the dawn; last night, as was the case the night before, we were blessed with a long, steady rain, and the veiled sunrise […]

Last year, the outside world was introduced to one of the most fundamental lessons of existence, one our peoples have always known: the essential truth that water is life. Those who learned it did so many years, even decades, too late to save the stretch of Mother Earth and the waters that are her lifeblood and […]

In a season of fire and water, the weather is a sacred clown. Clown because it is an elemental joker, a trickster, the offspring of Coyote and Thunderbird; sacred because it is life itself. Yesterday, wave after wave of thunderheads amassed at the horizon, moved forward and over . . . and past us. Not a […]

Yesterday, wave after wave of storms moved in . . . and moved through without depositing so much as a drop. Today has been more of the same, a monsoon season without the monsoon, a rainy season in which no rain falls. All that is expected to change, and drastically, tomorrow. At the moment, we are […]

The dominant culture talks much of “pooling talents” or “pooling resources.” It’s supposed to refer to teamwork in the service of a greater (corporate, capitalistic, commercial, colonial) goal. Communitarianism without the community. We are concerned at the moment with pooling of another sort: of resources, yes — perhaps the most valuable tangible resource of all […]

Today was much hotter than the forecast predicted. Now, as the clock shifts to the evening hours, the rain has just begun. For now, it is only a matter of light drops, but they are enough to lower the temperature significantly. If the radar map is accurate, however, they are the leading edge in what […]

Yesterday, we had reports of a fire not far south of here — only a couple acres, not enough to cause much damage, but enough to send a pale haze of smoke drifting northward to surround us here. Yesterday, we also had ice: hailstones, hard and powerful, pelting a hot earth amid a rush of […]

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 […]

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