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Feathers That Hold the Light of Sun and Sky

We have been granted another clear October day, all blue skies and shimmering golden light, and at last it feels possible to hope for a real fall.

El Salto’s craggy face glows warm beneath sun; on its northern slopes, so, too, do the aspen lines, whole swatches of mountainside painted amber now. The aspen leaves down here are turning, both in color and in motion, beneath the gentle force of of cold breeze. And earth and sky, tree and feeder, indeed, nearly every available surface and space, are aflutter with the wings and the songs of the small birds now.

This is the season of the small birds here, these days of early autumn before the snows arrive. This bit of land is a stop of long standing on the migratory route of the tiny siskins, the bars on their wings flashing gold in the light. This year, it was an out-of-season sanctuary for several species of warblers at summer’s end; a few errant goldfinches arrived in late winter and stayed the summer over, as did a chickadee or two, despite their status here as winter birds. Now, the winter finches are arriving in force, the tiny reds and their cousins, the sparrows, and of course the juncos, their feathers flashing shadowy slate blues and grays.

And although our record number of hummingbirds this year have already moved along, we may yet see a returnee or two. Last year, a solitary male continued to visit as late as the twelfth of November. We left a feeder out for him to use as long as needed, and it proved to be a wise decision. Despite the chill edge on the wind today, one or more may return yet this year, too, tiny iridescent wings full of feathers that hold the light of sun and sky.

Today’s featured works, a pair that share far more than a passing resemblance, embody these tiniest birds, the light of their feathers, and the gifts of the season. We begin with the one that carries the light. From its description in the Pins Gallery here on the site:

On Sunny Wings Hummingbird Pin

Summer departs and autumn arrives on sunny wings. The small fierce spirits of this threshold season infuse this work by Wings, a tiny silver hummingbird who carries the sun itself. The wingéd one is cut freehand out of sterling silver, with wings outstretched in full hover and dagger-like beak at the ready. A triangular point defines the beak; a single lengthy score line separates the wings. Sunrise symbols in two sizes delineate body and edge of wing feathers; the tailfeathers are formed by a flowing-water motif and edged with arrowhead points. Where wings join body, a single small round cabochon rests in a saw-toothed bezel: fiery orange amber, the color of the autumn sun in a place and space of magic, mystery, and medicine. Pin stands 1.5″ high by 2-1/8″ across at the widest point; amber cabochon is 3/16″ across (dimensions approximate).

Sterling silver; amber
$625 + shipping, handling, and insurance

I think the amber version is my favorite, but it’s a close thing. They feel like parts of a single whole, the magic of an early-autumn dawn and dusk. The one above delivers the warmth of an amber glow; the one below, the clear and windy blue that pollinates the world with fall wildflowers. From its description in the same gallery:

Pollinating Sky Hummingbird Pin

Hummingbirds are tiny messengers of the spirits, tasked with spreading nectar upon the winds, pollinating sky in the summer light. Wings summons one of these small emissaries into being with his newest pin, one that assumes Hummingbird’s form and shape. Cut freehand from sterling silver, caught in hovering flight, her wings are scalloped with sunrise symbols, her tailfeathers articulated by way of arrowhead points. Seen in profile, her eye is a tiny hoop, wings separated and body and yoke defined by hand-chiseled lines. Additional hand-stamped symbols of ethereal radiance accent throat, wings, and body. Where neck meets wings, she carries a single piece of sky, an impossibly clear, electric blue turquoise cabochon set into a saw-toothed bezel. Pin is 1.5″ high by 2.25″ across at the widest point; cabochon is 3/16″ across.

Sterling silver; blue Kingman turquoise
$625 + shipping, handling, and insurance

A lone butterfly floated past yesterday, on what was perhaps the last warm day of the year. Then again, drought is forecast for the whole of the winter, so we may have another late return of Indian summer, as has happened too often in recent years. It’s hard on humans, yes, but much harder still on these small and fragile spirits, and so we try our best to maintain a refuge for them here. After all, they bring us the gift of the world on their wings, feathers that hold the light of sun and sky.

~ Aji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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