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Friday Feature: The Sun and the First Sister

There is no sun today.

Dawn, and the whole world is gray, earth and sky and all the spaces in between. Snow has been falling since the middle of the night, light and heavy at once, weightless crystals descending in a curtain of white. The mountains are hidden from view on all sides, and the glow of the nascent sunrise, too. The world seems to sit in a state of suspended animation, the falling snow the only movement, the gray of the void the only color.

The snow is badly needed, and very much welcome, but the timing, this week and next, is inconvenient, to say the least. The endless gray, however, is fitting for our world now, a small golden light having gone out of it on Sunday. It’s hard to imagine our world alive with color and joy again, hard to imagine the return of the golden light and life of summer, of the sun and the first sister.

They will come, though, in their time. We were reminded of this truth the other day, when we received a box from a very dear friend. Among other beautiful items, it included several bound ears of Indian corn: golds and reds and blues and purples, a riot of bejeweled color in the form and shape of the first sister, she who feeds the people. We had no corn, Indian or otherwise, in the year just past; our deadly drought saw to that. But now, thanks to our friend’s generosity and kindness, we have its ornamental beauty out of season, and kernels to plant when the warmer winds return.

Today’s featured work is linked to such spirits, to their animation and manifestation, protection and preservation. From its description in the Other Artists:  Sculpture gallery here on the site:

Master carver Mark Swazo-Hinds (Tesuque Pueblo) coaxes stylized Corn Maidens from plain smooth blocks of stone. Each is hand-carved from very pale, very fine pink sandstone, almost a translucent peach in color. With surfaces so smooth you can hardly keep from touching them, they feel a bit like large worry stones. In lieu of the traditional tablita headdress, each wears Mark’s trademark bundle of brilliantly-hued macaw feathers. Figure stands about 6″ high (dimensions approximate).

Pink sandstone; macaw feather bundles
$425 + shipping, handling, and insurance

Of the four Maidens shown at the link, this is the first, and the largest: solid, substantial, wearing traditional dress and ornamentation. Her headdress is full and lush, in the jewel tones of Indian corn: the blue of water and sky, the green of the trees, the red of the local earth, the brilliant gold of the sun and our lost little pup’s coat and eyes and spirit.

And as the dark recedes, leaving in its wake a lightening but seemingly endless gray outside the window, it reminds me that this bleakness is not eternal. Her beautiful little spirit — now in the form of the sun and the first sister — will illuminate our world again.

~ Aji








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