Tuesday 25 March 2008

New Life

Spring has come after the long winter and with it has come new life. Delicate and fragile, the plum blossoms adorn the yet leafless branches.

The logs of ash wood have been stacked in rows through the winter in the shelter of the cedar grove.

Through their bark the Shiitake mushrooms come muscling their way to the light.

In the grass and leaf mulch "Fukinoto" (angelica) buds of bright green burst forth.

Yes, the winter has been long, but not so long that life cannot reassert itself. It has been a time of gestation, a time of contemplation, a time to question my direction and find that what was true before remains true. To live a good life is the goal, and it is not a distant destination but a daily journey that defines who we are. Before we measured the world and set our arbitrary limits on it, before we invented money or built clocks to rule our lives, before the whims of fame and fashion, we were and will always be a part of nature and only whole when we live as one with it.

To rise with joy at the rising of the sun, to work with ones hands in the earth, to take the gifts that nature gives us and share them with the people that we love, to go to our rest at the setting of the sun and be embraced by the gentle night. To experience the beauty of the world with all our senses, take it and find it within ourselves and then share it with others as something new, an expression of who we are.

We picked a bowl full of fukinoto from our garden today, my wife, my children and I, and we enjoyed them as tempura as part of our evening meal. We ate from the pottery which I made for us, at the dining table we made, on the wooden floor we built. There is no luxury in this, but what life could be richer?

It is not an easy road that I have chosen, it never was, but it is a good one. It's rewards cannot always be measured by conventional values, and for some people I suppose it will always be a mystery. I am not some people, and neither they nor I can live by the others standards. My path is mine, all the hours and days and seasons that I live. And life goes on.


  1. Thank you for your comments on Tatsuzo Shimaoka Sensei. It is a beautifully written piece. We visited his studio in the mid-60s and have some of his pottery, along with other Japanese pieces. Do you have a sample of his hakomaki?

    You work is just great.

    Betty & Gene Smith, Honolulu, HI

  2. Thank you, Betty & Gene. It's great to hear from you.
    Shimaoka sensei influenced a great many people around the world and has left us with a legacy of beautiful ceramics. I have several of Sensei's pieces, but I am not sure what you mean by "Hakomaki". Perhaps "Hakogaki", his signature on the paulonia wood boxes? If that is the case then yes, I have fine example which I treasure. I will put it on my blog some time in the future.

    All the best,