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Gathering Sky

Yesterday, the peaks began to turn.

It happened overnight; by midday, the first swatches of yellow were visible among the evergreens on either side of the Spoonbowl, and along the upper ridgelines of the slopes on Pueblo Peak (there is no such thing, incidentally, as “Taos Mountain”; its name if “Pueblo Peak”).

As of this morning, the changes had spread, a clearly visible river of gold flowing slowly down their sides.

In an ordinary year, the aspen line would begin to show its new gold robes a bit later, yet still well before our trees down here at the foot of the mountains. This year, ours began turning long before their higher-altitude counterparts.

This is what drought does. What monsoon season we did have this year concentrated virtually all of its rainfall on the peaks, with the result that the trees at the highest elevations have fared far better than our own. Down here, there is now nearly as much gold and amber across the highway. One of our own aspens is virtually bare; the remainder have patches of pale dry gold here and there, while the willows have long been half-yellowed already.

And above, the sky is relentlessly blue, hot and bright, a perfect backdrop for the sun’s light and heat so intense that it will near ninety again today.

Today, we have a few puffy white clouds scattered around the horizon, some seeming to touch a distant earth while most hover and drift some way above it. They are greater in number than yesterday, though, when only three or four patches of them coasted around us like tufts of cotton adrift on the wind. The day before that was clearer still: not a single cloud anywhere; the four corners of the sky stretched above us, entirely unbroken and uninterrupted.

All in all, these early autumnal days are a perfect time for today’s featured work, one that captures their essence in silver and stone. From its description in the Rings Gallery here on the site:

The Four Corners of the Sky Ring

In some traditions, the people reckon their world by the four corners of the sky. Here, Wings has captured the image of such a world in microcosm: the hoop of the world holding up a perfect turquoise square of Southwest sky. The band is formed of two elegant strands of solid sterling silver triangle wire, soldered seamlessly together. At the center of the band, the bezel flares into a flat setting cut freehand in a square with softly rounded edges. The stone, cut and filed into a slightly smaller square, is left with a freeform surface that hints at the rolling movement of the heavens, traced with bits of black and gold-colored webbing like fine wisps of thundercloud. The band is 3/8″ wide; the setting, 1/4″ square; the stone, 3/8″ square (dimensions approximate). Sizeable. Other views shown at the link.

Sterling silver; Sleeping Beauty turquoise
$475 + shipping, handling, and insurance

The possibility of a rainy season is behind us; now, we pin our hopes on winter snows, buttressed with no small amount of prayer. We need a heavy winter if the land is to survive, and our ways with it.

For now, though, the clarity of air, the edge on the wind, the fast-changing robes of the foliage — all are beautiful, and welcome in spite of it all. So, too, is the bright blue vault overhead: It may hold no rain now, but it is impossible to remain unmoved by its beauty. Now is the time for gathering sky, drawing its clear purity of color down to embrace our daily lives in autumnal grace.

The clouds will move back in soon enough.

~ Aji








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