We imagine life in snapshots. Still. Permanent. Solid. But life and all it encompasses is more like a flowing river. Twisting every which way. Sometimes rushing. Sometimes softly silent.
Sometimes the river is full of life, with burbling waters, fish, turtles, and wildlife all around. There are nesting birds, and blooming plants. The songs of the river sing loud.
But life, like the river, has its seasons. Each one different. Each one a story-filled chapter. There is drama, suspense, humor, romance….and tragedy.
This week we all witnessed a communal tragedy in the fires of Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral. The stories Notre Dame Cathedral hold for millions and over many centuries still exist, despite the devastation from the fire. But, like life, the future of Notre Dame Cathedral will no longer be exactly the same, even as France is committed to rebuilding the Cathedral. The old stories will continue to be told, but now there will also be many new stories. In some ways the Cathedral represents on large scale the idea of wabi sabi. Impermanence. Imperfection. Change.
Wabi sabi is all around us, and within us. As we age, we feel the essence of wabi sabi more sharply. In our limitations. In our physical transitions. We are part of our larger world. Much like the mountain in my personal haiku image above, our world tells the story of our strength, endurance, humanity, and struggles. Knowing this gives us freedom.
We are moving pictures, not snapshots. And everything is in transition. And everything is beautiful.
Take a moment to read my post on wabi sabi entitled “Beautiful Imperfections”
Today is also International Haiku Day, a project of the Haiku Foundation.