Sometimes the grand seascapes of the west coast winter are just too gray and flat to hold my attention.
When this happens I look elsewhere to see what I can feel and see by the sea. This is when I am most often consciously drawn to beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” or the wabi-sabi nature of our natural environment.
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. Andrew Juniper in Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence describes wabi-sabi this way: “if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.” Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi
Feng Shui on the other hand comes from the discipline of Kan Yu or the Tao of heaven and earth. The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feng_shui
In both wabi-sabi and feng shui there is an element of human use or organization to replicate and appreciate our natural world. So, when the view on the horizon is less than inspiring, I sometimes seek to photograph these natural relationships between feng shui elements with their full embodiment of characteristics of wabi-sabi at sources – without human use or organization.
These wabi-sabi, feng shui nature photographs seldom make it to my blogs or my online galleries for purchase. They are a meditation or spiritual practice rather than an end result. However, today I am going to share a few of these images with you.
In the trees…
Looking into the deep woods on Henderson Hill gives way to the splendor of the the arbutus trees. Their tangle of light-seeking branches reach elegantly under and around in search of the sky.
A new conversation
Though it is just the end of February there are many signs that a new spring season is beginning here on Mayne Island. One of these is the shedding of the bark on the arbutus trees and the revealing of the fresh new skin on of these sensual trees. It is such a tactile sensory visual experience that I walk along running my hands over their smooth exposed trunks.
Arbutus Bark Natural Design
The pealing and curling captures natural the movement of time in its everyday way of being.
Out on a limb
Trees seem to have invented the strength of the spiral. In our occasional high winds I am often amazed that so few trees are blown to the ground. This spiraling is I believe part of the mystery.
On the forest floor…
While, when the big landscapes fail to impress on a heavy overcast west coast afternoon, the little things sometimes become more beautiful than ever. This is fresh new moss growing on the rocks. So very soft and lovely on the eyes and to the touch.
By the Sea…
A Dance through Time
Over and over they tango the sea and the shore until they are shaped as one. I am squished between the land and sea begging the sky to intervene. Have you been there?
Shell Sand Sea – a love story
The tide is going out. As the water leaves in a wave of salty tears, the shell of a varnish clam remains, embracing the sand.
Butter Clam 1
The round butter clam brings vitality to the gray and the stones by the sea.
Mussels and Seaweed
The connected and passage of relationships crush and sweep away any sense of isolation. Yet, the inner scream of longing cries out to be heard, noticed and cherished.
What belly can grumble with such nourishing abundance for the taking?
There is yet another layer of temporary impermanence. We know in this continuation we are but a moment of moments lost to infinity.
Our live bits drifting with the dead, the dying and such shall we become.
Such is the nature of wab-sabi feng shui in my natural world of photography. May this imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete Tao of heaven and earth bring you a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing.
What wabi-sabi feng shui nature influences your life?
© 2013 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.
Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.
Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch
From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada
For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com
- Feng Shui Basics (navarrahong.com)
- Wabi Sabi Writing (deborahbrasket.wordpress.com)
- Wabi-Sabi – Beauty in Impermanence (everydaygurus.com)
- Photographing and Painting seams in time with John Daido Loori (creativepotager.wordpress.com)
- Stop feeding the WOW-smacked dragon! (creativepotager.wordpress.com)
- Reef Bay Morning Experienced – west coast seascape oil painting (terrillwelchartist.com)