Butterflies

From the burweed,
Such a butterfly
Was born!
Kobayashi Issa, translated by R. H. Blyth

 

My family and I were stuck in a small town in Slovenia during the toughest Covid-19 lockdown of 2020. We could not go outside the commune, disturbing news, and disagreements in society aggravated the situation more strongly.

That time was like a stretched-out moment between the past and the future. Was it the beginning or was it the end? The beginning or the end of what? It frightened and disturbed. And our salvation was the forest around.

In Japan, they say “Shinrin-yoku” which means a forest bathing trip. Going into the forest, absorbing its atmosphere, my mind calmed down and my eyes caught the beauty of the imperfect perfect nature. In nature, the beginning is equivalent to the end. And being in the lingering slowed-down state, I noticed with particular sharpness the beauty of impermanence and transience. And contemplating this impermanence, I regained my footing and stability.

These feelings were very close to wabi-sabi. In Zen philosophy, there are seven aesthetic principles for achieving wabi-sabi, each of them is represented by a photograph from the series.

Kanso (簡素): Simplicity, easiness
Fukinsei (不均斉): Asymmetry, irregularity
Koko (考古): Basic, weathered, austerity
Shizen (自然): Natural, without pretense
Yugen (幽玄): Subtle grace, not obvious
Datsuzoku (脱俗): Unbounded by convention, free
Seijaku (静寂): Tranquility, silence

The autumn days passed slowly, one by one, stringing a tanka poem.

All photographs are archival pigment prints
56 x 84 cm
22 x 33 in
Each is a limited edition of 20 plus 2 artist’s proofs
© Eva Vasilyeva 2020