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Wrapped In a Pale Insistent Light

After a week of lazuli skies, this day’s light is gray, filtered through a heavy blanket of smoke enfolding us on all sides. It is a trickster’s gift, one delivered overnight by the whirlwind spirits: proof of life of the wildfire some forty-five miles to the east.

Tomorrow’s forecast currently predicts an eighty percent chance of rain. We must hope that the meteorologists are right, and that the elemental spirits are in a cooperative mood.

Today’s featured piece is a work of wind and light, of earth and air and water and fire of another sort, all brought together in the vortex of the storm. From its description in the Necklaces Gallery here on the site:

Dance of the Whirlwind Spirits Necklace

When the winds come from the Four Directions to meet at the center of all that is, they summon the spirit of the whirlwind to dance in the vortex of the storm. Wings summons all of the spirits in this work, a large, heavy talismanic medallion of solid sterling silver, hammered by hand and lightly domed in repoussé fashion. A symbol of the Four Sacred Direction in a flaring stylized cross shape rests atop the medallion as an overlay. Each spoke is marked with a single cabochon of cobalt-blue lapis lazuli, the color of the rain; they spin inward toward the vortex at the center, embodied in a large round onyx cabochon of mysteriously glossy depths. The hand-made bail is accented with tiny hand-stamped hoops, the shape of the spiraling wind itself. The pendant hangs from an alternating strand of round sterling silver and lapis lazuli beads, with small square lapis and round onyx beads stretching toward either end of the strand, each end terminating in two tiny Florentine-finish silver beads. Pendant is 2-1/8 inches long (including bail) by 2-1/4 inches across; beads are 19 inches long (dimensions approximate). Close-up views of the pendant shown above and at the link.

Sterling silver; onyx; lapis lazuli
$1,500 + shipping, handling, and insurance

Today, the winds rise and fall, and the land’s fortunes with them. The smoke has overwhelmed our small world here, burning eyes and stealing breath. At moments like this, the sun still burns through brightly enough to allow hints of pale blue to tinge the yellowing gray; later, the whirlwind spirits will send the smoke spiraling close once again and the plumes will close ranks, dulling the day anew.

Still, behind the haze is illumination: of an eminently practical sort, yes, but, one hopes, of a metaphorical sort too. If the smoke induces people to take our current drought seriously, and more, to put in the work necessary to undoing the underlying acts that brought us to this pass, this fire’s destruction will not have been entirely in vain.

In the meantime, dull haze notwithstanding, we are still safe from the flames. We can still see; our world has not vanished. We may be enfolded in smoke, but we are are still wrapped in a pale insistent light.

~ Aji











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