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on becoming the black bird and embracing wabi sabi

I fell asleep with a case of scopophilia- which I had just learned means the overwhelming desire to look.  Seattle lay in the haze of the horizon.  I need just wait.

The amount of books packed in my carry on, ridiculous, yet nothing but enlightening.  I was time travelling alone, for an extended trip, with a new identity. The glow of the sun began it's blazing ascent, first touching the clouds, then the wing outside my window, and finally resting on my sleeping neighbor's face.  Through the crack in the window clouds fluttered near me, if only they could touch my face.  I cried. Silently.  As if baptized in my own tears, a new day began. 

With great welcome Emily Dickinson whispered into my ear .....

" To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, one clover, and one bee, and revery. The revery alone will do, if bees are few." 

And so I learned the theme of my trip.

REVERIE:  a daydream, a delirium, the condition of being lost in thought. 

 Observation: a blackbird. resting at the tip top of the slant of the roof. I watch it watching me.

"Whoever plunges into his experiences with the momentum of hope will remember so that he cannot forget.  

Nil Admirari (to wonder at nothing)

No moment must be permitted a greater significance then that it can be forgotten when convenient; each moment ought, however, to have so much significance that it can be recollected at will."  -Kierkegaard 

I am a blackbird, stretching my wings in the warm sun of Seattle.
And as I hear, most days in Seattle are rainy, so it was a continuation of my lucky streak that I saw nothing but sunshine. It didn't stop the rain and the crow from appearing in the book I was reading though.

"A flock of blackbirds flew by in the rain.  The hearts of those birds were dark, and wet, too." 
p. 625 IQ84

In Seattle one is granted invisibility.  As long as you aren't going out of your way to interrupt the flow of their day, people don't notice you.  No sideways confused glances.  One day my hair is long and brown, the next, with the help of two girlfriends, raven black. My transformation had begun.  

I stand on a wooden fence post, testing my balance, high above the beckoning water off in the distance.  With my hands shielding my eyes from the reflecting glare of the sun over water I observe an older man walking in my direction. As I am off the path a bit I wonder what he has to say, as he must make an effort to reach me.

"Are you a rope dancer?" he asks, "walk from one end of the rope to the other?"

I blush. Inhale and sigh. He has payed me one of the utmost compliments a girl could get.  He made this young birds' day. I am but a crow watching the world below.

Spontaneous and re-occurring interactions, realizations, and observations with the black bird, the raven, the crow. It was as if we both suddenly (the bird and I) had been made aware of each other's interchangeable existence. 

I decided to follow my inclinations and spend more time exploring crows.  My eyes would seek them out, their stark contrast against a clear sky, their shrill calls to one another, their swift swoop as their wings undulate through the sea breeze.  I was learning about something I felt I was becoming more and more a part of.

Black hair. It happened. Something I wanted to do both to surprise my husband and to challenge myself. To let go of control. To let my long natural hair evolve.  Here I was, donning my plumage.    The color black in clothing had always been something I associated with my husband, with New Yorkers and with the backstage theatre crew. 
I became enamored with armoring my own body with black attire.  I adopted it.  I embraced it's sultry darkness around me.  Swirling skirts and winged shirts. 
Looking beyond the goth subculture, I began researching the history of wearing all black clothing.  Sure enough another connection was made. One that would lead me to one of my new favorite clothing designers to study, Yohji Yamamoto and Karasu-zoku - the crow tribe that followed his work. I had joined his tribe. And when I got home, my tribe accepted me back with open arms. With the taste and smells of Seattle tucked dearly away in my memory, what I did have to bring home was the change I found within myself. 

(a link to a blog with the aesthetic that inspired me:

Inspired by a bird that I soon accepted as what some would call a spirit animal, of sorts, to me was a reminder of how co-existent our worlds really are. To stop and notice re-occurrences and reflect on them. To accept beliefs that seemed far fetched at first. To pursue aesthetics and be playful. The way that a black bird loses it's feathers over time, I shed my own version in length.  I was further embracing what Yohji Yamamato had to teach me. 

From wiki:"Wabi-sabi (佗寂?) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), the other two being suffering (苦 ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).

"for true greatness always sprouts in dark corners;  in time that which is genuine gains the upper hand..."  p.34 Diary of Sabina Spielrein

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.        

"Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West."[1] "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."[2] "[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."[3]

I had finally found an aesthetic that reflected:
How I saw myself.
How I made clothing. 
How I made art.  
How I looked at the world around me.


  1. I love this post. It is beautiful and concise. It made me cry. Tears of recognition and understanding.

  2. Beautiful! You and the written word never cease to amaze me.



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