My children have always been confused and bemused by my love of bones, shells, discarded nests, and feathers. “What is it with you and old dead things?” they ask. I can only explain it as a willingness to recognize and honor the time we have here and the beauty of creatures who have passed.
Oracle Natural Science in the Crossroads is one of my favorite haunts. Owner and artist Alessandra Dzuba, who has degrees in printmaking and psychology, curates an inventory of beautifully preserved skulls and bones, taxidermy, insects and crystals, minerals, and fossils. Dzuba and her associates acquire their product from sources they trust, and most have died from natural causes, usually old age or illness. My partner and I are building a collection of framed butterflies. It’s a joy to see their iridescent colors so closely and be reminded of their symbolism of rebirth.