Wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic concept… an acceptance of the old, of the worn, of the asymmetrical… A rejection of the lavish and sleek, of over ornamentation, and the regimented. It’s about simplicity and modesty and being underplayed. It is finding beauty in the liver spots on the hands of the aged. It is the glory of a well worn hand rail, or the cracks and fading of a lovingly worn hand bag. The signs of use, of age, of trauma… all the scars and wear marks, the wrinkles and gray hairs, the dusty leaves and rust and cracks and crevices can be appreciated rather than repaired or covered.
My father was enamored with the concept. He spoke about it at length and I think in the circumstances of the fading days of his life, it was his search for beauty in a room that was clean and sterile and in a life that was marked by scars and trauma. Sitting in a room, pondering a life of imperfections and mistakes he still was searching somehow for an aesthetic perfection that would fit… and perhaps it went beyond the visual.
So I sit here with my sleek laptop, drinking tea at the table with a fuzzy gray cat. I wonder about the wabi sabi of the soul… about rather than repairing the scars and crevices from the trauma of life, that we appreciate these things as marks of beauty, of timelessness and love. My soul may be battered and worn, but it is an indication of a journey… not of a static life in a sterile and ordered environment, but one worn of love, of beaten paths and incident and accident and hand polished hand rails and cracked pottery. And rather than try to paint it over or fill it and sand it and make it perfect… perhaps it is perfect already.