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On the Arc of Rain and Light

We awakened this morning to a sight rare here in summer: near-full cloud cover, skies the color of pewter and iron shot through here and there with shafts of wan yellow light. Over the last twenty-four hours, today’s forecast has gone from a 40% chance of rain down to 20%, back up to 40 and then 50%, and now it sits at 80% as thunderheads swirls around us on all sides.

We need the rain, desperately, but even this forecast and these skies are no longer a guarantee here. Although the world speaks of climate change as something looming, parts of it in this place are already past-tense. It is an ongoing phenomenon, or, rather, an aggregation of phenomena, plural — like an avalanche, in which the snow gathers up everything in its path, new elements accreting to it as it tolls inexorably onward, leaving a trail in its wake and blazing an ever-widening one before it. There are already casualties littered along and buried beneath the path behind it; the question now is how much of our world, of us, will get caught up in the snowball before it finally crashes and disintegrates at the end of a path too distant (or at least too circuitous) for us to see it.

Ordinarily, I would be thrilled with a day such as this, all wild threatening clouds and the electric feel of an impending storm. Now, my enjoyment is tempered not merely by the knowledge that it may come to naught, but also by the fact that such drastic changes in our usual patterns are unlikely to bode well for our world.

Still, such rain as we do get will be a gift, medicine for us, for the soil, for the plants as well. Our smaller wildflowers are late in blooming this year, a casualty of the cold snap around the solstice. But some are hardy, or at least stubborn, and they have persisted in the struggle to be. Such cacti blossoms as we have had this year are mostly gone already; they tend to flower early in the season. But the globe mallow and fleabane are alive and well; the desert honeysuckle are fighting valiantly; our sagebrush buttercup is in full flower now, bright gold against rich green.

The last reminds me of today’s featured work, both in color and in the boldness of its blossoms, refusing to be dimmed or diminished by heat or cold, by monsoonal rain or lack thereof. This piece embodies that strength of spirit even as it is cast in a delicately beautiful form. From its description in the Accessories Gallery here on the site:

Summer Wildflowers Barrette

Summer wildflowers rise from green-tipped stalks to blossom and dance in the light. Wings summons these spirits of warmer winds in this barrette, hand-milled in a random profusion of silvery petals across a gently arcing rectangle of medium-gauge sterling silver. In the center of the barrette, a single round citrine rests in a saw-toothed bezel, a small wild sunflower amid the larger blossoms. The “stalk” is formed of an elegant silver pick made of sterling silver half-round wire, hand-stamped in a repeating pattern of directional arrows alternating with tiny sacred hoops down its length. At one end, the pick is anchored by an elegant oval peridot cabochon, beautifully translucent in the color of summer greenery, set securely into a saw-toothed bezel. The barrette is 3-5/16″ long by 1-3/4″ high; the citrine cabochon is 1/4″ across; the pick is 3-7/8″ long by 3/16″ across (save at the bezel); the peridot cabochon is 3/8″ long by 1/4″ across at the widest point (dimensions approximate). Another view shown below.

Sterling silver; citrine; peridot
$775 + shipping, handling, and insurance

The stones in this piece are pure summer: the gold of sun and petal, the green of leaf and grass. So, too, is the imagery that rises from its surface, layered looping blossoms adance on the arc of rain and light. It’s fitting for what should be our rainy season, when sun gives way to storm and back again all nearly in the beat of hummingbird’s wing.

And now, the skies have darkened suddenly, violet clouds coming closer to us, jostling for position, flowing together and merging overhead. Perhaps there is cause to hope that the latest change to the forecast is right.

The wildflowers are waiting.

~ Aji








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