That's right, it's ear season again, time for hunters to keep their ears peeled for the sounds of deer in the forest, and for hikers in the woods to keep their ears peeled for hunters. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons.
There are so many reasons for me to be out in the mountain forests at this time of year. The seasonal changing of the leaves, which around here amounts to groves of Aspen trees turning golden and quite frankly transcendent or ethereal. Their yellow homage to the years dying sun is, truly, something to behold. Also, when the Aspens change color I know it's time to harvest Osha root, a powerful anti-viral and bronchial stimulator good for fighting off the flus and bronchial coughing which are also just as seasonal this time of year.
This is also the time for mushroom hunting and the King Bolete enjoys the same high altitude haunts as the Elk do. So, not only am I up there root-grubbing around and meandering through the sun-dappled sub-alpine Douglas Fir ecosystems, but many hunters are as well, listening for the rustle of something in the woods. I am a lover of silence, I have learned a lot from the deer growing up in the woods, and my movememnts and manners can, especially when in reverie at Natures beauty, be much akin to deer and Elk. Emulating these peaceful and powerful forest beings is not a wise thing to do at this time of year, however, so i often find myself whistling a tune to signal my human-ness, or perhaps the spirit of the bard overtakes me and I get a bit lyrical or compose Tolkein-esque narrative.
I found these bullet casings on the North slope of Greenhorn Mountain in the watershed of a small spring. I like to pick up any trash I find when out on my hikes and forays, but especially anything hazardous to my environment, such as batteries. I'm not sure of the potential for heavy metal contamination of our watershed from brass bullet casings, but I'm pretty sure that it isn't a good thing. I collected these and brought them home to dispose of in a propper manner, which is to . . . well, . . . I really didn't know. Recycle them I guess, but I wasn't going to take a trip to the recycle station soon, so I kept them around. Soon, I began to look at them as found objects and metal material which might be fodder for my creative outlet.
These were a quick experiment in upcycling found brass bullet casings. I brushed, drilled and added simple Sterling Silver ear wires. This hazardous waste has been transformed into a simple yet edgy pair of earrings. They make great conversation pieces for earthkeepers and deer hunters, ecologists and Outdoor Educators.
Each pair come with small rolled scrolls with quotes about nature tucked into them. Particularly I like to put a quote by Aldo Leopold on his idea of a Nature Ethic in them, but there are many quotes from Emerson or Muir which would go great in them as well.
"The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land."
"This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for and obligation to the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter downriver. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these 'resources,' but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state."
Leopold, Aldo: A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There, 1948, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987, pg. 204.
If you like, they can be replaced by your own special scroll,scripture, list, wish, blessing or poem.
Or, sport 'em empty . . . or fill 'em with fairy dust, essential oils . . . get creative.