A tree fell at Abrams Falls Road, hitting other trees, pulling down smells to my nostrils that had been captured in the single file order. A couple days ago, I walked my dogs out on that road and thought about how it must have been when the trees came tumbling down. Probably the hemlock was the first to snap, and it tore off a piece of the Tulip Poplar and a portion of the bank.

Leonard Koren said wabi-sabi is an uncharacteristic feature of Japanese beauty close to the English word “rustic” with a definition “simple, artless, and unsophisticated or earthy, and unpretentious. Broken down, sabi means withered and wabi refers to the misery of living alone in nature away from society and suggests discouraged, dispirited emotional state. Today wabi means sabi in Japanese and visa versa.

I seem to have strong opinions about wabi sabi. People seem to want to apply it to often to human terms. I find wabi sabi in nature, like the scene at Abrams, where things constantly are changing and taking changed forms. Also discussing imperfection people often say things like "you have a beautiful crookedness to your smile. See even without braces you have a wabi sabi imperfection to your smile." To me that is misusing the expression entirely. It's as if they still aspire to be conventionally beautiful, and they read Cosmo magazine, but since they are not perfect by those terms, they are like "I still love you even though you are not perfect."

That is not wabi sabi. Wabi sabi is most applicable to natural things because most human traits are to entangled with these standards of what is thought of as generally beautiful. When you start talking about perfect traits with humans it becomes an impossible cycle, a catch 22, a loop that never makes sense. Even if you say "I love the imperfect trait of yours" you still are allowing perfection, this outside system of beauty description to overrun your analysis of the beauty.

That is why I stick with death and decay in the natural world as my wabi sabi beauty. To each their own tho.

Ode to all of the sounds that our water makes, though I cannot help that I feel alone. But is a drop ever alone? It might seem like a million years of confinement, but falling from the sky might be the best thing that ever happened to me. When water is dropping from the sky, it sings a mute song. The pedestrian walking home on the Abrams Trail with a skip in her stride sees the rain coming, the layered sheets that always seem to come in her way.

Maybe one human alone in nature gets to be wabi sabi in my world.

The canopy should not be overlooked.  You can scour it for toddler scooters, mated shoes, random chairs, twenty feet up, perfectly placed.  You are reminded of how small you are and how blind you are in the large scheme, the mystery.    Then it's the last houses, the tumbling rocks behind your car.

Visiting often, you remember the water, the foamy days, the murk after rain, the typical but excited cry of the kingfisher swooping the length of that little bridge. 

It takes much longer to know every tree.  A tree falls in the forest, toppling partially onto another tree.  Roots again, clinging and sucking still for life.  In fact knowing every tree is an impossible task, for someone sticks their head in the badger's hole or fish flow on constantly.  

The only way to snap a picture or memorize a wooded acres is knowing its impossible to capture anything.  I challenge you to catch a launching flock of turkeys, then show me the flock somewhere.  What was will never be again, by nature all things decay and move on.