Wabi sabi: finding comfort in the dark
I have been sitting with this idea of wabi-sabi this week. Looking at the beauty in the fading, drying garden. Often I’ll spend time dead heading my roses and other flowers to encourage more blooms, a last bit of autumn color and growth, but this week I thought perhaps it time to let each thing move along in it’s journey. To let the roses dry up and move on to rose hips, let the plants in the yard be withered, let them push the last of their energy into seeds, let the stalks turn black and stand as sentries until spring. And what about we humans? Our culture does not abide such withering, does not encourage introspection in the dark places of our life. When grieving our society has stripped down many of the rituals that so many religions put in place for this grief. Even on the playground we demand stoicism from our children. As a preschool teacher I witnessed many a tumble with a parent responding with a “you’re OK, shake it off” response, instead of acknowledging the hurt, surprise or fear the child has experienced. We are not encouraged to acknowledge the dark side of life. We know that day begins in dawns arrival, every day we are given proof that the darkest night ends and the day begins again. Each year we are taught the lesson that spring follows winter. What are we afraid of?
The little ladybug taking refuge in the prickles of the fading Yarrow inspired me this week. I wanted to express the esthetic of wabi-sabi in my piece, the beauty in the sharp edges and broken bits. I also wanted to translate the perfection of the ladybug at rest amongst the thorny seeds of the yarrow; a surprising juxtaposition between the drying, dying plant and the tiny red jewel inside. I choose to portray the red center as a circle. I wanted to evoke the idea of perfection in the circle, the Alpha and Omega, the OM of Hindu tradition. This perfect, gleaming, red beginning and ending; resting and content nestled in the broken glass and sharp metal edges.