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Time for Warmth, and Time to Dance In It

SunHearts Necklace and Earrings Set

After an overnight low below zero, we are headed for a high near fifty. The sun is shining warm and bright, the wind little more than a whisper, and the feel of spring rests softly on what should be cold January air.

One of the base points of climate change can be found in its earlier moniker:  “global warming.” It’s a name that is certainly true of us this year, with temperatures mostly far above the norm and precipitation levels dangerously far below it.

Now, we must grapple with the reality that this may, very soon if not quite yet, be our new norm.

For most of our small world here, that’s unlikely to present much difficulty; we are outliers when it comes to our fondness for winter weather. But for those remaining folks who, like us, reckon their daily lives by season and weather, climate and temperature, it will require recalibration on a number of levels.

Last year, we missed much of the planting season, with late spring cold and snow and an early fall. This year, with what will fairly clearly be a shortage of snow melt, we will have to adjust our plans — and our expectations — that much further, if we are to continue our practice of growing our own summer and fall produce and herbs.

It also means recalibrating our expectations with regard to what is physically possible — and to learn to find joy in changed circumstances.

Our peoples have much experience of both.

For us, part of that experience entails, to the greatest degree possible, maintaining our cultures and traditions and ancestral ways. Some of that has long been perforce denied us — colonization and the subsequent implementation of the reservation system have seen to that — but our collective resilience is evident in the fact that we have retained so much of the old ways in spite of it all.

Part of the reason for that success lies in our ability to love, to find joy, to celebrate the gifts we are yet given in the face (and defiance) of those that the outside world has stripped away. It’s a lesson we would all do well to remember in this deepest, bleakest part of a too-warm midwinter.

It’s also a lesson that finds expression in today’s featured works — a collection in miniature, a small set of two works completed only within the last week or so. They are not precisely a matched pair, but rather, complementary: a necklace and a pair of earrings, each of which is designed to coordinate with the other, but also to be capable of standing alone — in other words, a bit like our peoples and ways. We begin with the newest item first, a necklace of spare and simple lines but a fiery spirit. From its description in the Necklaces Gallery here on the site:

Sunlit Heart Necklace Closeup

Sunlit Heart Necklace

A sunlit heart is warm even on the coldest days. Wings adds a little fire to the winter with a necklace in sizzling reds and golds. The focal point is a heart-shaped cabochon of brilliant apple coral of. truly phenomenal size, a mysterious whorl of flame-hued scarlet, crimson, amber, gold, and bronzed, all aswirl in a beautifully beveled stone, held in the close embrace of a scalloped bezel. The bezel is edged in twisted silver, and hangs suspended from a bail of delicately flowered pattern wire. A diminutive sun in the form of a single small round cabochon of fiery amber accents the base of the bail, nestled in the cleft above the heart. The pendant falls beautifully from a 20″ sterling silver snake chain. Pendant is 2-1/4″ long, including bail; apple coral cabochon is 1-5/8 ” long by 1-1/2″ across at the widest point; amber cabochon is 3/16″ across; bail is 5/8″ long by 5/16″ across (dimensions approximate). Necklace coordinates with Sundance Hearts earrings, found in the Earrings Gallery. Close-up view of pendant and view of necklace with coordinating earrings shown below.

Sterling silver; apple coral; amber
$775 + shipping, handling, and insurance


It’s enough to drive the chill even from the coldest pre-dawn hours, a feeling to keep one warm throughout a whole winter’s day. But if sunlight warms and illuminates, even inspires love, it also sparks feelings of joy. In our way, much of life is cause for celebration, and one of the ways we express joy is through dance. The other half of this informal set, a pair of earrings, speaks to that emotion, to the act of dancing in the fiery light of even a cold winter sun. From their description in the Earrings Gallery here on the site:

Sundance Hearts Earrings

Sundance Hearts Earrings

The journey of the light lives in sundance hearts. Wings evokes Father Sun’s daily dance across the sky, the love and warmth it represents, with earrings aflame in coral and amber. The hearts themselves are wrought in beautifully beveled heart-shaped cabochons of brilliant apple coral, each stone aswirl with reds and oranges and metallic whorls of flame. Each heart rests gently but firmly in a scalloped bezel trimmed in twisted silver, and each is held fast in the embrace of three equally fiery amber cabochons, the sun’s illuminating rays extending outward in a graceful dance. The round amber cabochons are set into small sawtoothed bezels soldered securely to the cleft in the top of the heart and to the inward slope of either side. Apple coral cabochons are 1-1/8″ long by 1″ across at the widest point; amber cabochons are 3/16″ across (dimensions approximate). Earrings coordinate with Sunlit Heart necklace found in the Necklaces Gallery. View of earrings with necklace shown below.

Sterling silver; apple coral; amber
$775 + shipping, handling, and insurance

For us now, the extended forecast holds no real chance of more precipitation, no matter how badly needed. For more than two weeks out, the predictions are for endless sun and, with few exceptions, a continued warming trend. If this is to be winter now, we had better get used to it.

In the outside world, a little more than two weeks hence will see celebration of a different sort: a day for lovers, one in which romantic love takes center stage. For those who celebrate it, brilliant red hearts are a perfect marker, particularly those that also signify love and joy.

But in our way, it’s a motif applicable to everyone. We may not have snow, but the trade-off is milder temperatures and a dearth of dangerous ice, enabling us to live and do far more comfortably and productively than is normal for this time of year. Even as we pray for the return of the snow, Wings’s new works remind us that, as always, the spirits give us much cause for love and joy, as well.

One this day, there is time for warmth, and time to dance in it.

~ Aji











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