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Redefining Prosperity

Today is, to my mind, a near-perfect autumn day. We have sun, bright and clear, shining on the eastern peaks and the newly golden aspen lines that trace their slopes. We have a webwork of clouds to south and west, from silver gray to dark slate, moving in slowly overhead. We have cool, crisp air and magical light.

And we have that rarest of fall phenomena here, the promise of rain for tomorrow and beyond.

This time of year is more usually the point at which the rain departs, succeeded by snow only once the mercury drops sufficiently. This development is not what we would call “normal,” but it is welcome indeed.

It may not be what we’re used to, but we are adaptable peoples, accustomed to finding the medicine in our world’s extremes. It is sometimes a long and arduous process, this work to re-evaluate even as we work to rehabilitate and reclaim, and we are entering a new phase of it now: a time honoring the gifts that survive in the face of catastrophic change, using them to rebuild and renew, redefining prosperity as we go.

Today’s featured work is an example of the elemental extremes to which we are accustomed, one once mostly confined to the warmest season but now crossing seasonal lines with abandon and ease — and of the medicine they provide even in the midst of seemingly destructive developments. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

Hail In Summer Cuff Bracelet

One of the gifts of the rainy season is hail in summer, a bit of snowy white to grace the green of a heated earth. Wings brings together the green and the white and heat, too, with this slender cuff bracelet studded with gems of summer and winter. The slender band is stamped free-hand in a repeating pattern of directional symbols down the very center, spokes pointing to all of the Sacred Directions like a radiant star, or the crystalline structure of a snowflake. Each side of the band is edged in a separate repeating pattern of triangular motifs, a symbol used at once to represent the mountains and the shelter of the traditional lodge, radiant with light at the base. The ends of the band are rounded by hand and filed smooth, each stamped in a single radiant sunrise image. Along the center, five gems are set into scalloped bezels and backed with sterling silver, the layer then overlaid across the band itself — a cascade of three round cabochons of grass-green jade alternating with a pair of domed oval cabochons of snowflake obsidian, icy white patches adorning the glassy black molten material. The band measures 6″ in length by 1/4″ across; jade cabochons are 3/8″ across; snowflake obsidian cabochons are 1/2″ long by 3/16″ across at the widest point (dimensions approximate). Other views shown below.

Sterling silver; jade; snowflake obsidian
$1,150 + shipping, handling, and insurance

I love this cuff for the flawless consistency and depth of the stampwork; love it, too, for the icy beauty of the snowflake obsidian.

And then there are the jade cabochons.

In one light, they look utterly ordinary, opaque dark green domes, small and unassuming, the color not drab, precisely, but perhaps a bit on the dull side.

And then the light touches them, and they come alive, an electric pale-green glow like that of the autumn sun shining through the remnant fading greens of summer.

That, too, is a gift. That, too, is abundance.

Colonialism has taught the world not to value beauty except in a mercenary way, one that appropriates, commodifies, profiteers. Beauty is not valued, but valuated: measured against something else to determine wealth, profit, ownership to the exclusion of all else.

But we know that the most valuable thing is our Mother, and at this moment, her most valuable attribute is water: underground, aboveground, pooled, flowing, falling from the sky in drops and flakes and hardened pellets of ice.

By any real measure, summer is done, and it’s unlikely that tomorrow will bring the sort of extremes in temperature disparity to create the conditions necessary to the formation of hail. But outside the window, the clouds gather and close ranks; the southwest sky is a gradient of grays. Rain suddenly seems possible now.

And if it falls as predicted, particularly on multiple days in this week to come? We shall be wealthy indeed. The earth is already redefining prosperity for us, but we are relearning the true meaning of abundance.

~ Aji








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