An Artist's Quest

Hanging On & Letting Go

The last of my summer garden minutes before the rain

This week I have had the pleasure of pondering one of my favorite aesthetic notions; wabi sabi.  Wabi sabi is a Japanese concept which embraces the paradox of beauty in imperfection, the appreciation of the waning, cracked, lopsided, aged, bent beauty that is abundant in Autumn.  Here in the Russian River valley the vines are turning yellow, orange and red a bounty of color brought on in the cycle of a grape vines life – these leaves are turning brilliant colors before they give up and fall to the ground leaving their host branches bare for the months ahead.  In my own garden the tomatoes are still clinging to their last green and yellow fruit, and the triumphant zinnia’s that burst from my garden troughs clutch their last blooms.

The last of the Zinnias

And so this morning with shears in hand and the gentle sprinkles of the impending rain tic-tacking on my rain coat I dashed to cut the last of the blossoms, clinging to summers color for just a few more days.  In the house they won’t last long, stuffed into the mason jars I pulled from the shelf, but I just couldn’t leave them.  I hurriedly gathered bunches of dried flower heads to store away, bursting with seeds full of promise for next years zinnia pageant.  Earlier in the week, before the rain came, I had the pleasure of hiking the backcountry, gathering dried leaves, and grasses collecting red rose hips from the wilds rose bushes and dried heads of Queen Ann’s Lace.  In one of my favorite tasks as resident artist, here at The Bishop’s Ranch, I am charged with making things beautiful for various events.  So for this weeks board retreat I wanted to present Autumn in all it’s wabi sabiness, gutted pumpumkins stuffed with dry curling leaves, rose hips and darkened stalks and rattling seed heads graced the dinner tables along with autumn poems.  Take a walk today find some humbling breathtaking wabi sabi, breath in the crisp chill air take in the waning light, pause and find wonder in the waning.

Song for Autumn
In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.
                                                 -Mary Oliver

2 responses

  1. great ideas!

    November 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

  2. Lisa, a moving post, and Oliver’s poem hits home, as always.

    November 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

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