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Friday Feature: A Song, Floating Upon the Light

As I stepped out of the truck this morning, a monarch flew past dipping right in front of my face as if to say, I’m here, and I want you to see that I’m here.

It has not been our only resident in recent days. We seem to have the full complement this year of orange/white/black butterflies, from the monarch to the viceroy to the American painted lady . . . and, it would seem, a visitor from southeast Asia, far off its usual migratory paths: an Autumn Leaf Butterfly.

Wings discovered it yesterday, at rest among the red willows on the west side of the house. Wings open, it manifests much like a larger painted lady — a velvety, nearly moth-like body with bright orange wings rimmed in black with bits of white here and there. I could not get a shot of it with wings open, but the real identifier comes with its underwings: Wings closed, it looks like an autumn leaf — in this particular instance, the dusky reddish-brown of a dried maple leaf.

They are not indigenous to this continent, and we have never seen one of its kind before, yet here it is, perhaps summoned by the same butterfly’s song of those who are native to this land, a song, floating upon the light, that identifies this as a place of sanctuary.

Every spirit needs sanctuary. How much more true of those who, by intent or accident or force have found themselves far off-course, in a strange and unrecognizeable land? And how welcome, then, must be the song whose notes are familiar, that sings of a place and space of physical and spiritual safety?

Today’s featured work reminds me of summer, of the butterflies and their song, for so very many reasons. From its description in the Other Artists:  Sculpture gallery here on the site:

This traditional sculpture by carver Paul Dancebow (Taos Pueblo) is done in classic Pueblo style.  Carved of cedar, his upturned face is finely detailed, as is his long hair, tied back in traditional style.  He’s wrapped in a blanket, and his body curves gently, following the natural line of the wood. He stands atop an alabaster base, golden in color with silver-white matrices throughout. Another view shown below.

Cedar on alabaster base
$225 + shipping, handling, and insurance
Requires special handling; extra shipping charges apply

In our cultures, it is the elders who pass on teachings, messages of wisdom and experience, who bring us up in the familiar even as they show us how to navigate outside its more-comfortable boundaries. They sing, too — for the children, for us, for earth, for the spirits, and yes, for the butterflies.

This particular elder, summoned as he is from glowing golden cedar, stands atop an alabaster earth of shimmering sun, and he sends his song out into the world to show it the way.

Perhaps it is he who called this small spirit from the other side of the globe, with a song, floating upon the light.






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