Monday, August 4, 2008


Tonight I went to a memorial service for a long time friend, Anna, who died unexpectedly last week. I can't really take it in yet that she isn't here anymore. I feel bad because it has been too long since we got together--we used to hang out a lot. I feel glad that I knew her and that so many friends were together tonight to remember and honor her.

Anna was a brilliant therapist, an artist, a writer of prose and poetry, an inspired gardener, a political activist and a loving and supportive friend. Once again I am reminded of the impermanence of all things and beings and the importance of not putting things off, thinking I always have time...later.

I dedicate the following to Anna, with gratitude for her being here for a time.


I have been reading and thinking about the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi. One definition I've come up with is:

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature; of accepting natural cycles. It's simple, slow, and uncluttered and reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is a philosophy, an aesthetic, a way of seeing, and a way of life. Both objects in nature and those created by humans gain interest as they corrode, age, fade, and exist in a state of imperfection and impermanence.

This is a brief definition, and I don't claim to be an expert in wabi-sabi--it defies being pinned down; wabi-sabi honors ambiguity and incompletion.

This morning I took my camera and went around the house and porch to see if I could use my eyes, and the camera to find elements that embodied wabi-sabi to me.

Here is what I found:

Pottery shards in a broken bowl on a table stained with paint

A peeling fragment of my 103 year old house's original wallpaper

My partner made this raku (pit-fired) bowl

This vase belonged to my mother and has been cracked since I can remember

My great-grandmother's teapot, now stained and dented

This bamboo grows its own way

This book is just like one I had in the 60's. It describes the wabi-sabi of the tea ceremony. I chose the oldest and most faded of the copies available at the bookstore. Also the most interesting and evocative to me.

A chipped and stained flowerpot in the grass and dirt

Clematis drapes over a broken section of the concrete porch railing

My father's brush bottle with his brushes and my stained scissors

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