The Japanese term, “Wabi” relates to freedom from affluence, its lack of material distraction, its appreciation of simplicity. The term “Sabi” relates to age, deterioration and imperfection. Wabi-sabi then, relates to the ability to see, recognize and value organic perfection otherwise seen as imperfection.


He was outside, early in the morning, shovelling snow. Having cleared both his own walk and his neighbour’s pathway, he briefly rested and leaned on his shovel, surveying the work he had done. It was satisfying work.

Then his gaze scanned up, over the fences that defined their yards. Appearing behind a complex, almost haphazard, criss-crossing of snow-laden branches in a nearby woodland, he saw a brilliant, yellow-orange light in the sky. It was beautiful! It was the snow-dampened, quiet dawn of sunlight asserting itself, as the cold cover of night was being slowly drawn back from the Earth.

He was probably not the only being to notice the beauty that was unfolding in the eastern sky, but he was the only creature who was there, at that time, looking from that vantage point. Nature displays this kind of beauty almost constantly, but his noticing it seemed like he was somehow putting the punctuation on nature’s beautiful display. Her beauty seemed to be somehow completed by his noticing. Then he briefly recognized that like her, he too was wabi-sabi. It was a good way to start the day.