How impermanence adds to beauty

A sand sculptor carves intricate patterns to see them meld back into the beach as the sea-breeze slowly chips away at its boundaries one grain of sand at a time.

Ice sculptor’s often see their masterpieces melt away when the sun comes out the morning after.

During the festival of Onam, people in Kerala celebrate by making elaborate pookalams – floral patterns on the ground whose creations require hours of painstaking labour.

In several wedding receptions, I have seen vegetables carved in the beautiful shapes of flowers and little animals, only for them to be consumed or to wither away.

The impermanence of these works of art and the detachment of their creators adds to their beauty. Sticking an ice sculpture or a vegetable carving in a freezer would destroy rather than preserve those works of art.

The work we do is a gift to the world, and like any gift, it must go out without have strings attached to the giver. To continue grasping after releasing it into the world is to do our work a disservice.

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise

– William Blake

Pookalam

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