SOLC Day 26: Wabi sabi and tulips

March 2023 SOLC–Day 26
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

I was uninspired to write today, so I turned to reading other posts. Usually I don’t do that until after I’ve written, but I was hoping for a spark. Reading Terje’s post, I recognized myself when she wrote that she hadn’t noticed that the flowers had dried in the vase, and then her thoughts had turned to wabi sabi.

Wabi sabi? I couldn’t quite remember what it meant, but had a sense it was similar to Kintsugi (true confession: I couldn’t remember the word Kintsugi, but knew it had to do with admiring the beauty of imperfection, like the crackles of a repaired vase. Thanks, Google!)

When I looked up “wabi sabi”, I found this definition: “In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature.”

I realized that I’ve been unknowingly practicing wabi sabi, though no doubt in a very amateur fashion. This spring I’ve been indulging myself by purchasing bouquets of tulips every week or so. I appreciate them more than most flowers because they are so dynamic. They are fluid from day to day, opening, closing, revealing an innate architecture and grace as they transform. My camera roll attests to my fascination.

Yesterday I bought yet another bouquet. Today I’m admiring the tightly wound buds, the pursed lips of their clustered petals and the fresh green of their stems. Later in the week, I’ll appreciate the exuberant opening of their gaudy, blowsy blossoms and finally I’ll take time to recognize the beauty in withered blooms, scattered petals, and newly revealed pistils and stamens.

Perhaps I can infuse other aspects of my week with the practice of wabi sabi. I’ll look to the tulips for a reminder.

6 thoughts on “SOLC Day 26: Wabi sabi and tulips

  1. Such a lovely post! I often read some posts to try to find a spark of an idea too. Tulips are surprisingly beautiful even when they’re withering and dying. I love that you capture them through your photographs even in their later stages. Your post has encouraged me to look for more examples of wabi sabi in my daily life!


  2. lynnedorfman says:

    Well, I learned something new – wabi sabi – I have been practicing it, too, without realizing it. I also love tulips and will purchase a few plants in April. I have trouble keeping them in my gardens – the squirrels always dig up the bulbs! Love your photos!


  3. Denise Krebs says:

    Molly, I too have learned something new wabi sabi. I wonder if it can refer to loving our own aging selves. I’m “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” as well. This is not the first time I’ve seen your sweet appreciation of tulips in each state of being. Thanks for sharing the photos, which do give good reason for appreciating those aging tulips.


  4. kd0602 says:

    I love the vase! It’s its own kind of Wabi Sabi. You know I love tulips–and I find myself doing the same thing with dandelions. I must have hundreds of photos of dandelions in all different stages!


  5. Amanda Potts says:

    Oh. Tulips. I could look at them forever. Now to bring wabi sabi into other parts of my life.


  6. Carlene Hill Byron says:

    Likewise, love watching my floral arrangements (and my gardens) change over time … The older I get, the more I appreciate what’s no longer in the bloom of youth!


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