Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust

Every clay has a story behind it.

A lifetime. Many thousands, if we're being technical.

Clay is the final frontier of the rock cycle.

Unbeknownst to many, rocks are alive. Lifespans a bit longer than ours, but it doesn’t discount the obvious process and similarities to any other being, development, alteration, hardship through change, periods of rest and settlement, personal development, the absorption of wisdom picked up along the way, and eventually, dissipation; weathering, the way skin weathers, bone weathers, and spirit, comfortably weathers. 

Clay is the dust of our bones, the cremated remains of a life well lived, only waiting to be recycled and start a new life, in some other form.

We get to touch clay. 

It’s the most finite observable soil size, under 2 microns, and it took hundreds of years of rain and wind and sunshine and animals walking past and rivers flowing to get there.

I see clay as the bare essential, the final denominator.

The same reverence arises for the most simple aspects of my existence. When I ask those questions; digging deep to understand what final, certain core remains after so many layers of my personality, interests, and conditionings are shed away... About two microns of something iridescent probably.

Clays from different places have entirely different pasts.

Dating back to before the Spanish conquest of the Native Americans, before dinosaur footprints from the tropics floated en mass up to Scotland, before the slave trades on the East Indian trading routes.. before most everything we can perceive. 

These soils, micron by micron collected from vast deserts and by way of a fortunate breeze, found water to settle into. Clays that live in deep striations of mountains, in almost every color imaginable, and hopefully, remaining there, uninterrupted, recycling, resting, becoming more and more plastic, or turning back into stone under the weight of the world above. 

Clay that lives at the bottom of the sea, beyond our comprehension, red soil floated from sand storms off of the Sahara, combined with iron-rich dust from all the meteors that have plummeted into the ocean over time. 

I’ve had the unbelievable honor of rubbing these sediments between my own fingertips. Far above sea level.. in the mountains.. where it snows. Mountains where the proof of the Native Americans' love for clays is absolutely unavoidable. Pricks under your bare feet from ancient pieces of pottery, shards long forgotten by some. Turning the shards sideways, the flecks of gold and the deep reds seem familiar.. “it looks like that rock over there!” and that’s because it is. 

Debates can be made about God (and there are, of course) but my version of God, blew that sediment down from the hills and into something plastic, viable, and workable. Combined with human ingenuity and creativity, after centuries of being the most essential material humankind has ever had, revolutionizing cooking, travel, family life, funeral ceremonies, and medicine, we also get to create from it. If there is one other place I think this ambiguous God, life force, and Nature Mother can be seen, it is in our unfiltered moments of expression, and play.

Thank you, Aina, for letting us see ourselves in the dust of your bones.