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Flowering From the Center

Yesterday was unusual: warm and breezy beneath pale gray skies. The clouds lasted all day, that itself a novelty here, only beginning to clear out with the sunset. They brought no rain, although one could feel its distant presence on the winds that also carried the smoke of wildfires west of here to add to the opacity of the light but lowering clouds.

I felt, for most of the day, as though I were back home, in the lands of my own people.

Don’t get me wrong; this is home now, unquestionably. But for those of us whose spirits and selves are braided and bound to specific lands, there is always a “home” that lives in their earth and water and sky, one that we carry deep within our souls even when we are separated from its soil. In my own, a land of big water, the skies are as apt to be gray as blue, a place of lush summer green where cloudy days and stormy weather enfold the human spirit with all the cozy security of a swaddling blanket.

Thanks to climate change, those lands are seeing fewer such days, and increasing high heat and drought. Here, it means that I have been given the great gift of a physical home that occasionally brings the spirit of my ancestral home to me.

It is a reminder, again, that this place and its peoples are all joined in unity of place and purpose: Turtle Island, the land of the First People, a world centered in an essential indigeneity.

In this flowering green world on the cusp of summer, it’s a symbolism that finds expression in today’s featured work. From its description in the Buckles Gallery here on the site:

The Center of All Things Concha Belt Buckle

In our own small plane of existence, from our own human perspective, our world is the center of all things. Indigenous cultures affirm this reality in our origin stories, in how we understand Turtle Island beneath the skies, amidst the winds, above the point of emergence. Wings pays tribute to this vision, one lived daily among his own people, in this complex concha belt buckle, a flowering shell-shaped disc of heavy sterling silver that blossoms into traditional symbols of the world as we know it. Celestial patterns, rising sun and setting moon and the light that flows between them, edge the scalloped buckle in concentric rings. Its repoussé center, lightly domed by hand, is chased in a loop of hundreds of individual arrow stamps tracking the motion of the spiraling winds. Ancient kiva steps symbols lead inward to the very center, heart and womb alike, where rests a large oval cabochon of emerald green turquoise with a golden brown matrix that looks for all the world like a map of Turtle Island. On the reverse, only Wings’s hallmark appears, in the embrace of another spiritual center: the Morning Star Lodge, a place of healing and medicine, guidance and power. The buckle stretches 3.75 inches across by 3-1/8 inches high; the stone is 1-3/16 inches across by 7/8″ high (dimensions approximate). Reverse shown at the link.

Sterling silver; Colorado Evans Mine turquoise
$1,800 + shipping, handling, and insurance

Our traditions differ; so do our lifeways. And still, we share much that is essential, even elemental. With summer comes a season of celebration, of powwows and dances and feast days and ceremony, a time for us to mark that which we hold in common even as we distinguish our own cultures and honor our own histories.

For we share a land, a home, a physical space and plane of existence as surely as we share the spiritual and historical connections of culture and community and clan. Like the grass, the leaves, the medicine plants, we, too, are flowering from the center: from this land of Native earth and and water and sky.

~ Aji









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error: All content copyright Wings & Aji; all rights reserved. Copying or any other use prohibited without the express written consent of the owners.