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Friday Feature: A Song for the Waters

Rain Leaf Flute Player

Finally, after so many, many weeks of winter clinging insistently to the land, it finally feels like May. For much of the outside world, it’s perfect timing: the Friday heading into a three-day holiday weekend, one originally intended to pay tribute to fallen warriors now transmogrified into three days of eating, drinking, and shopping.

Because our both our holidays and our workdays adhere to a different form and schedule, for us, this is largely just another day. More, for us, this day and the next three will be a time of fierce and frenetic activity, heavy labor performed at high speed, as we race both the clock and the weather forecast on multiple fronts.

Still, we will find time this weekend to enjoy the newly warm air and extended light, the bright blue skies and the turquoise waters rippling in the pond. Days such as this are a gift, and in our way, it’s important not merely to acknowledge a gift but to honor it with use and enjoyment.

As we close out a month in which we have devoted this space to some of the works of one of the Pueblo’s painting masters, Frank Rain Leaf, a day such as this puts me in mind of one specific work — the one I had planned to feature last week, but that is eminently better suited to this week’s theme of warming winds and reflecting blue waters, both here on the site and in the real world around us. From its description in the Other Artists:  Wall Art gallery here on the site:

Frank Rain Leaf (Taos Pueblo) evokes both ancient and modern representation of person and place in this acrylic painting of a traditionally-dressed Pueblo flute player. This is one of Frank’s most iconic and popular images, one he has used as a model for smaller art media such as greeting cards. It’s an image of the warm season, as awash in color as the bed of the Rio Pueblo it depicts. A young man in traditional moccasins, leggings, wrap, and braids sits beneath an old-style arbor, built by hand, blanket off to the side and a fire at his feet, while he plays a Native flute, an accompaniment to the song of the river.

Acrylic on canvas; wood frame
$425 + shipping, handling, and insurance

It’s a beautiful rendering of a classic image, one that belongs to the timeless spectrum of Pueblo life: past; present; future. And even as it illustrates the traditional acts that belong to an ordinary day here, it also summons, expresses, and honors far deeper themes. In this place, if the drum is the heartbeat of Mother Earth, the flute is her voice.

In a place where water is breath and voice and song alike, those who play the flute play an ancient red-cedar song: a song for the waters, and for the world they sustain.

~ Aji





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