Wednesday, August 10, 2005


For my birthday, the Lansberrys gave me a couple of books. One of them was a book of Japanese death poems. It seemed like the perfect fit, and I think that they were right. I learned to love art and poetry from the Japanese. One aspect in particular is their love of the transient. Poems about cherry blossoms are so numerous that they are nearly cliché. However, it makes sense in this context. After all, cherry trees only blossom once a year, and they last for only a week. The Japanese understand the beauty of transience. It doesn't last, but it's all the more beautiful because it doesn't last. We don't get this in the West. For some reason, we have this desire to fix things in time, to preserve that which is fading. A person sees a beautiful sunset or a towering thunderhead and immediately thinks, "I wish that I had a camera." I wonder if it's because we are afraid of death. We don't like to think about things passing away. But Creation is filled with the transient. Sunsets, the passing of the seasons, clouds, snowflakes, a single cresting wave...all these things pass away, yet they are beautiful in their time. But, the oddness of God is that the transient repeats itself. The leaves flame with color and fall to the ground, but they return next year to do it again. A single wave breaks upon the shore, but it is followed by others. And it's also the oddness of God that the permanent passes away. The mountains wear away. Nations fall. The sea evaporates. The transient is forever, and the permanent is transient. What a strange world this is.


Blogger Adiel said...

I have found a great freedom in leaving my camera at home. It is risky, though, and I often am afraid that I will forget an image or a moment. Then I remember that I am going to have my fill of incredible images and moments in Heaven so it's okay to simply enjoy a passing glimpse of beauty and the God who created it.

8/11/2005 11:55:00 AM  

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