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The Dust of the Universe

The day is bright, hot, and impossibly, dry. The forecasts are laughably wrong now — always predicting both lows and highs far below the reality. It doesn’t inspire confidence in net week’s projections; rain seems not merely unlikely, but unknown to this place now.

In all the years I’ve lived here, all of which have been during the last two decades’ worth of this 500-year drought, I have never seen such a dearth of green upon the face of the land. It’s not just the the grass is parched, dried golden-brown in the sun; it’s that what remains seems at risk of burning up entirely, turned into ashes and dust blown away upon the wind, exposing Mother Earth’s scorched brown skin.

We have all summer’s intensity of heat and light with none of the rain that accompanies the season, and the earth is burning up before our eyes. If we are not careful, we will do likewise, and in terms not merely metaphorical but dangerously literal.

Humanity has forgotten that more fundamental of all lessons: where it came from.

Our people know better than most, remember better than most, at least on this land mass we call Turtle Island. We come from the earth, even those among us who also come from the waters or the stars: The cosmos is our womb, our parents and parentage, the source of our strands of DNA and our spiraling souls alike.

We know that we are inextricably intertwined with the very dust of the universe, bound together in one eternal hoop: braided suns and stars and skies, earth and water and light.

Today’s featured work, one of Wings’s newest, embodies this bond, this braid, this everlasting connection of of our cosmos and cosmologies. From its description in the relevant section of the Bracelets Gallery here on the site:

Braided Suns Cuff Bracelet

We live in a world of braided suns, a sacred hoop of the seasons strung around orbs of golden light. Wings honors the sun in all its angles and phases with this cuff, heavy nine-gauge sterling silver annealed to a velvety finish, hand-stamped in arcing conjoined sunrise patterns set opposite each other to form braids of light. Round tiger’s eye cabochons, brilliantly chatoyant and infused with rich color gradients from deep bronzed brown to bright yellow gold, are set into saw-toothed bezels equidistant along the band’s length, a sun for each season in varying shades of dark and light. The edges of the band are hand-filed silky-smooth, and the inner band is adorned with arced sunrises chased along either edge, then linked across the band’s expanse by diagonal shafts of light erupting at the center in flowering radiance, the flowing lines all hand-struck to be meticulously equidistant and at identical angles. The band is 6.5″ long by 3/8″ across; the cabochons are 9/16″ across (dimensions approximate). Views of sides and inner band shown below.

Sterling silver; tiger’s eye
$1,475 + shipping, handling, and insurance

Knowing our link to the cosmos should, at least in theory, inspire us to care for its well-being as a matter of course. It is not merely home but family, too — aspects of a larger whole, inseparable from each other.

Still, history and reality have shown us over and over that the greatest violence is often that which is done in families, among and between and against our relatives . . . and thus ourselves. And so it has been with humanity’s treatment of the earth: an inflicted violence that is often intentional, but perhaps more often (and more perilously) unthinking, dismissive, dangerously casual.

But if the ordinary closeness of our relationship to our world is not enough to ensure proper behavior, perhaps self-interest — and the now fast-mounting threat to it — will be more influential.

We may live in a world of braided suns and seasons, one that privileges the light, but we must have the rains, too. Without the water, nothing living can emerge from the earth, even in the most nurturing light.

We are all of us — all things — the dust of the universe. When we ensure the world’s well-being, we ensure our own, as well.

~ Aji








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