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Monday Photo Meditation: Jewels For Mother Earth

Our world is just a little greener today for last night’s storm, late and powerful. The rain didn’t last long, but the light show was a gift and a wonder, a reminder of the power the heavens hold.

Our ancestors knew this well; they watched their world closely and inscribed their observations on the earth itself. In this part of Turtle Island, that means petroglyphs and pictographs on ancient gray slate: drawing the heavens, and drawing them down to manageable scale.

It’s much easier to comprehend the cosmos when its scope is reduced to human terms.

In cosmic terms, this image reminds me of a gem: boulders incised and stamped with ornamental patterns, their crevices and seams split by water, yes, but also by the turquoise blue of the desert sky, visible here and there between outcroppings. It is, perhaps, a set of jewels for Mother Earth, a single necklace or a pin for more cosmic spirits.

It’s fitting, too, that such accents should be cast in human terms upon a slate much older — no tabula rasa here, but a medium already long inscribed by elemental spirits, recording the history of our world on an epic and epochal scale. It is, after all, the same set of forces that created our Mother herself, the simulacra of shifting tectonic plates giving way beneath heat and pressure, ceding space and time, to carve out new features, new limbs to be adorned.

But the art of our cosmologies manifests by way of the earth’s hands and the sky’s brush, too, the palette and paints of  minerals and plants. We see it here in the slate itself, beribboned with blood-red strands, aglitter with mica and pyrite. We feel it in the cracks and seams, the hard faces and sharp edges of the structures themselves, the cliffs and mesas and riverbeds, the outcroppings and tumbled boulders and crumbled reefs that form the world upon which we walk, climb, rest, live.

One of the great beauties of such gems as we have here is that they persist through all manner of weather and climate, and changes to them, too. Our record drought will not harm them; monsoons do not wash them away. They have been here for millennia, and will still be here millennia from now: just as bejeweled, just as naturally, hauntingly beautiful.

And they will still have stories to tell.

~ Aji









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