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  • Writer's pictureEvan Wolkenstein

14 Days of Reflection: Episode 11 – “The Once and Future Ring.”


Photo feels like it was taken somewhere between 5 and about a million years ago.

Today, I spent two hours learning about my “Once and Future Ring.”

Once: it was silver. I bought it at a time of major transition, and truly, not an easy time.

On the outside, it was a period of major creativity. I was beginning to trust my eye, started to move beyond the biz-casual look I’d always favored, and I was featured in a style blog for the first time. I also, unfortunately, rocked a goatee.

On the inside: turmoil. I was single for the first time in years, experiencing a lot of work-related stress, and working through a lot of difficult emotions.

To top it off, I’d just lost a very special, older ring while trying to lift a neighbor’s fallen motorcycle. I put it in my pocket so it wouldn’t get damaged, and never saw it again. I needed something to fill the gap (or the knuckle, I guess).

Along came the ring (of the Once and Future variety): not from some wrinkled antiquarian peddling Mogwai and ancient artifacts out of a curio shop down a dark alley, but rather, simply, eBay.


When Gabi and I were preparing to get engaged, we talked about rings.

She was ready with a ring: Gabi’s grandmother had left her own ring in Gabi’s mother’s hands (so to speak), and Gabi warmly anticipated wearing it proudly, and fondly, and was moved to tears just to imagine it.

Should I, too, wear an engagement ring? Yes. But I already wore a ring – one which symbolized so much. Without looking like a certain Beatle, it wouldn’t be possible to wear a wedding band, my old ring, and an engagement ring. Should I say goodbye to my old ring?

We looked online and found other vintage men’s rings. Some were very expensive and some were not, and honestly, none were as beautiful as what I already wore.


The ocean mirrors my ring? The ring mirrors my stone?

When Gabi and I were celebrating our engagement, through the window of our vacation house, we gazed at the water and the rocks of the Pacific; the oceanscape seemed to mirror the picture agate of my ring. The past and the future seemed to merge.

All at once it became clear; the stone would move forward with me (and us) into time. The metal ring, well loved through the years and losing its gold plating, would be laid to rest but reborn – recast in a metal that has been precious to me since youth.

Since I was young, I was shown my own Grandfather’s watch, made from a metal so soft and lively, it is  described by the name of a flower: rose gold. 

Watching a young man painstakingly trace the lines of my old ring on a computer screen, preparing a 3d printer to cast a wax mold, to design an object with a history as old as civilization itself, it seemed so fitting.

The old and the new combined. My life as a full-fledged human will so join that of another full-fledged human. The sorrow of the past is reworked into the joy of the future. And this artifact from my life will both pass into memory and forever join me in the years to come.

It has a good ring to it.


For the previous 10 episodes of Turning 41: 14 days of Reflection, click here.

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