I walk further into the wilderness
my gait is an exponential expansion my stride eats earth
the horizon is a wavering line of air and rock
these, my dalliances with wind and rain
I slip into the wild
I build my cairns of stone
those monuments of dust and grit that silently mention my heartbeat
the broadness of my palms
the echo that rests in the gaps of my soul 
the space left for wind sail: we are propelled
there’s a breeze tangled in the rocks
mafic and porous
igneous and crystalline
river smoothed and tectonic sharp
I make my path
I am brought away and home again by humble beacons of tattered earth
Cairns, markers, beacons, trails, piles of stones that lead the feet and mind into the wilderness….and sometimes, I suppose they bring us home again, though I feel lately that I move out more onto the land than ever before and I am further and further from the element of civilization.  I’m in need of steady respite from the murmur and drone of city streets and the clack of high heels on concrete.  I am pushed away.  I set myself apart.  I look up and see the stones leading me out into cumulus, tall grass whisper, the prickle of douglas fir and ponderosa pine.  I feel even: tempered.  I feel soul balanced.  I see the fingerprint of the Creator.  And then the stones lead me home.  And these things remain.  Until the rush becomes too thick again.
I’ve been mulling over the concept of cairns for months now.  These stacks of rocks built as landmarks are physical forms that I feel sort of…badgered by…and romanced by…so I’ve been slowly placing their shapes and their meaning into sterling (and copper) — building minimal little sculptures for ears and fingers to aid in the understanding of the ideas of: path, wilderness, the art of losing oneself and the art of finding oneself, discovery, quietude, space, homecoming.  And to also bring to light the questions of: fate, destiny, purpose.
A cairn is carefully balanced, or perfectly precarious, depending on how you want to see the matter.  They are stark, undressed, unembellished, literally weathered pieces of earth set in a mound.  They are roughly constructed, due to the nature of the material, and prone to dilapidation.  Over time, they fall down and sometimes, they are built back up.  They are a human invention and sometimes the only evidence you’ll see, when in the wilderness, of human existence outside of yourself.  For this reason, when I go out, I am reminded, and I am brought back.
A joy to make.
An elegant bauble for the hand and a stout reminder for the soul to
venture forth and venture home.
Time and time again.
In the shop later today!
Happy Monday, you fizzy little souls.
Thanks so much to the ladies who gave these cairns homes. 
You really rock the flock.


  1. oh-amen to the poem.
    fate, destiny, purpose: i’m there.

  2. Beauteous baubles, Jillian. The prehnite (?) is magical.

    Oh, “perfectly precarious”…so perfectly apt for a creative life, no??


  3. these are beautiful
    they speak to me
    the simplicity of them
    and yet the layers,
    the beautiful gem
    the different forms
    all have something to say…
    I think I must have one…….

    love and light

  4. Lovely pieces, Jillian. I’ve found myself out quite a bit lately as well, and relishing and reveling in the space and quiet.
    Hope you have a wonderful day.

  5. comment was swallowed by the invisible_just to tell you that these are lovely_ you reminded me of boulders in glacier paths_ always in awe of boulders that walk and then sit together in a comfy pile for us….xx

  6. You know a lot of mineral-y words.

  7. your writing always makes go “yes”. & i love coming here to get a snippet of your world.

  8. Holy shi……! Those disappeared fast! I looked once, they weren’t listed yet, looked again and they had sold! Curses!

  9. Lost without a cairn in the world. Didn’t get one. Drats.

  10. missed them….bummer 🙁

    love and light

  11. AY AMA!!!
    your words never fail to shake the core of my soul! that settling power and energy of nature… I’m convinced that you’re a modern day *female version of muir! Inspiring always, and forever.

    much love,

  12. Beautiful! I would never have thought of carins as jewelry. They are beautiful rings – beautifully made. You inspire – again. And sold, all of them, so quickly. I admire how you work in “batches” of creative inspiration.
    Breathe in the West for me.

  13. Just want to let you know I find these lovely (too!). Wonderful how they’re all related and each unique, and the forms are just…right, as is the mystical phrenite.

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