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From the Center of All Things, Love Grows

The Center of All Things Resized

Some days, your world gets knocked completely off its center.

Today is one such for us, a day when the axis is not merely bent, but shattered entirely, when our orbit is simply and utterly gone.

We lost one of our horses today, the rescue who appeared mysteriously on our land on Christmas Eve four years ago and simply never left. He was starved, abused, abandoned . . . and with, although we didn’t know it at the time, a wicked case of sand colic, years in the making, already compromising his gut. It made its presence known before many months had passed, and it took months of all-out efforts by us and our horse vet to save his life.

But yesterday, our world fell apart.

His existing medical problems laid the groundwork for a very different sort of colic, one that materialized absent any signs, and one that, once full-blown, moved exceedingly fast. At midnight and two and four and even six in the morning, when we went out to check his IV, we still had hope. By eight, that was gone, even though our minds and hearts fought against with everything we had.

By 10:30, Ice the Wonder Horse had walked on, galloping across that stretch of stars that shine even in daylight, those that light the way to the spirit world.

And in the midst of the lush riot of green across the land, it feels, deep in the spirit, as though all growth has stopped.

It hasn’t, of course. Grief numbs even as it wounds, blunting the senses; the mind can manage only so much at once, and grief overwhelms the senses in a particularly outsized way. Even now, the rain has come at last, falling steadily outside amid rumbles of thunder tumbling across the sky. The earth’s greenery, so limp under the day’s oppressive heat, is already standing taller as it dances in the wind.

And we are reminded again that, in our way, death is not death as others conceive it, not final, not the end nor any sort of beginning, but an emergence into a new stage of existence. Of growth. For those among our cultures whose origin stories include places of emergences, vortices, or locational centers, existence itself is growth in a near-platonic way — not in terms of privileging particular intellectual traditions, but in the sense of recognizing evolutionary and adaptive processes at work in the people’s history.

And so we come to today’s featured work, one that was slated for this day a week ago, when our cosmos functioned within its usual orbit and its customary center. 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

On this day, our spirits feel a bit as though they have been cast back suddenly into that dark place, the one the Ancient Ones inhabited before growing, stretching, reaching, climbing for and to their own place of emergence. At the moment, it feels unutterably cold and dark and sad, a place more of loss than of love.

And yet, without love, we would not know the difference. It is love that will save our souls and spirits, just as love saved Ice’s corporeal self, for a time, nearly four years ago. It is process, not stasis, a hoop, an orbit, studded with joy and beauty and grief and loss, and with each circuit around it, we learn and grow and adapt.

With any death, we are reminded of the cyclical nature of existence, of the ways in which the body returns to the earth itself, there to give rise to new green life. A much more mainstream tradition than our own describes it well: Ashes to ashes; dust to dust.

And yet, neither ashes nor dust is an end. Ice will buried out in the south field by Cree, where the bank of wildflowers now blooms. And next year, they will flourish even more, arising as they do from this very particular plot of earth. Perhaps by then, his memory will be softened by time, one that has long since abandoned the form of his final days and grows, once again, into the shape of his happiest ones, days filled with beauty and joy and love.

Because from the center of all things, love grows.

~ Aji






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