Memories not so much lost like tears in the rain but more coalescing in salt spray into a continuum of days – of colours – the muted grey greens of dune plants and stretches of blue sea/blue sky against a backdrop of sun bleached sand.

Childhood holidays spent wandering beaches as a genderless, ageless explorer/naturalist/botanist – leading my little brothers on expeditions to discover rocky pinnacles around the next cove where we scrambled sky high to investigate piles of broken shells cast into crevices by winter storms.

Time and colours stretching through the years to the time when I led my own children through holidays of sunny days and sandy beaches then ice creams at the shop after slogging walks along the shore.

Then children growing up and earnest discussions as to the names of things and the whys and wherefores of the moon and tides –

a pause

  • then on to lonely midlife crisis, head bowed, walks pondering the way forward.

Now, and into the future – still walking the beaches, the names and whys and wherefores ceasing to matter as some kind of larger meaning emerges – the intensity of the quests, the journeys, the lovings and the not lovings draining away into a continuum of being.




Serious Clowning

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On a quiet Saturday afternoon a clown in a campervan pulled up in my driveway.   At the time I lived in a lonely house on the edge of a salt marsh.   It was a place of shifting mists and lengthy silences.  Misfits, artists and ferals lived thereabouts and sometimes came to visit so when the clown jumped out of his campervan I wasn’t all that surprised.

He’d lost his way, he said, and was late for his engagement at a children’s birthday party.   I gave him directions then, curious, asked where he’d come from.  He told he’d driven down from the city some three hours away.   He’d worn his clown clothes complete with orange floppy wig, red plastic nose and full clown makeup the whole way.   He was a very serious clown and didn’t seem to think there was anything odd about that.

Out of the blue,
with no rhyme or reason,
serious clowning

Approaching Wabi Sabi

I found a beautiful and insightful description of what Wabi Sabi means by the architect Tadao Andoon on

‘Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.’


Wabi-sabi is underplayed and modest, the kind of quiet, undeclared beauty that waits patiently to be discovered. It’s a fragmentary glimpse: the branch representing the entire tree, shoji screens filtering the sun, the moon 90 percent obscured behind a ribbon of cloud. It’s a richly mellow beauty that’s striking but not obvious, that you can imagine having around you for a long, long time-Katherine Hepburn versus Marilyn Monroe. For the Japanese, it’s the difference between kirei-merely “pretty”-and omoshiroi, the interestingness that kicks something into the realm of beautiful. (Omoshiroi literally means “white faced,” but its meanings range from fascinating to fantastic.) It’s the peace found in a moss garden, the musty smell of geraniums, the astringent taste of powdered green tea.



Autumn Wabi Sabi

Today’s prompt on Carpe Diem Haiku Kai is concerned with that elusive Japanese concept Wabi Sabi:-  “Bill Higginson, in The Haiku Handbook, calls sabi – “(patina/loneliness) Beauty with a sense of loneliness in time, akin to, but deeper than, nostalgia.” Suzuki maintains that sabi is “loneliness” or “solitude” but that it can also be “miserable”, “insignificant”, and “pitiable”, “asymmetry” and “poverty”. Donald Keene sees sabi as “an understatement hinting at great depths”…. The twin brother to sabi who has as many personas can be defined as “(WAH-BEE)-poverty- Beauty judged to be the result of living simply.”

summer to autumn

reblogged from my old blog – Art and Life

Wabi Sabi

I did some internet research about the ideas underlying the concept of wabi sabi.

On the web site I read that wabi is the philosophical construct that underpins the way of life or spiritual path of the hermit living in harmony with nature.   Beneath the hermetic existence lies the recognition that the world of duality is an illusion.  There is an understanding that clinging to the ego and the material world leads to suffering.

sabi is ‘the outward expression of aesthetic values is built upon the metaphysical and spiritual principles of Zen and translates these values into artistic and material qualities.’  Sabi objects are asymmetrical, irregular, unpretentious and ambiguous.  They reflect impermanence through an aesthetic experience that is peaceful and transcendent.

Wabi-sabi is ‘an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things.’

On this website I also read:

The Japanese haiku poet Basho transformed the wabizumai he experienced into  sabi poetry, and the melancholy of nature became  a kind of longing for the absolute. But this longing never fulfilled — the “absolute” is not part of Zen vocabulary –makes the tension between wabi and sabi an enriching and inexhaustible  experience.

Intrigued, I looked further.   On the website I discovered the work of Leonard Koren, a contemporary writer who explores the concepts of wabi-sabi and applies them to the modern world.  In article titled ‘The Beauty of wabi-sabi’ he writes:

   On a metaphysical level, wabi-sabi is a beauty at the edge of nothingness.