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Friday Feature: The Last Dance of the Butterflies

It has been a week that has at once seemed incredibly long and difficult and also seemed to fly by a top speed. That’s the nature of things as winter approaches, of course: As the daylight hours grow shorter and nights colder, the pressure to get things done becomes a tangible, palpable thing.

We are not the only ones feeling the pressure.

It apparently got unusually cold last night; the smaller of the maples has gone about one-third red overnight, a good six weeks too soon. The butterflies and dragonflies seem busier now, as do the few hummingbirds and indigenous bees that remain. Yesterday, our south boundary was visited by the butcher bird — the shrike, who never appears save in the absolute coldest of weeks, usually December and January only, and then only in the rarest of years.

Perhaps our small world here is gathering itself for a heavy winter after all.

We can only hope. For now, there are relatives, plant and animal alike, to keep alive as summer rapidly gives way to the earliest of falls, on top of all the other work to be done.

And through it all, we need to find time celebrate their existence, to acknowledge and seek joy in their presence. This is the last dance of the butterflies, of the dragonflies and other small spirits, and we owe it to them to notice and honor it.

Today’s featured work is its own celebration, of Indigenous traditions and of the spirits that accompany us on our journey. In this case, it’s butterflies and dragonflies and deer who join in the dance, their forms ephemeral, as impermanent as their residence here. But in this work they remind us that even as migration season approaches, even as they begin to move slowly along the path, we still have a little more time to enjoy their beauty and to seek the messages they bring. From its description in the Other Artists:  Wall Art gallery here on the site:

Renowned Comanche artist Tim Saupitty created a matched pair of air-spray paintings in watercolor hues, images of a man and woman in full traditional dress. The male figure remains in Wings’s private collection; he has put the female figure on offer. Whether viewed as a dancer or a bride, she is wholly traditional, with beaded buckskin cape, light blue shawl, eagle-feather fan, and eagle plume in her long braided hair; the spirits of deer and dragonflies dance all around her. The colors are simultaneous delicate and bold, the stylized human figure the artist’s hallmark; the interplay of light and shadow surrounds her with beauty and mystery and spiritual power. The entire image, including frame, is 38 inches high by 30 inches wide; the visible portion of the painting is 29.5 inches high by 21.25 inches wide (dimensions approximate). Close-up and full views shown below.

Note: This piece sustained mild water damage in the lower left corner and back due to a leak in the 1,000-year-old gallery in which it once hung. It has accordingly been reduced in price by nearly 50%.

Textured paper; air-spray paint; wood frame with glass
$2,500 + shipping, handling, and insurance
Permanent markdown: Reduced to $1,500 + shipping, handling, and insurance
Note: Size and fragility require special handling; extra shipping charges apply

Tim’s piece is a work of ethereal beauty, fitting for the spirits it chooses to honor. It shows the work of these small beings in a form we rarely have cause to see: as messengers and medicine; as guardians and guides.

And it reminds us that these small fragile beings in residence with us only temporarily each year play an outsized role in the land’s, and our, survival.

The mourning cloak visited me again yesterday while I was outside briefly; one of its giant dragonfly cousins buzzed past, too. I am honoring every encounter, knowing that any one of them could be the last for another year. If this week, or the next, is to be the last dance of the butterflies, I want to be present for every moment of it.

~ Aji








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