beauty tinged with sadness

As for me, I see both the beauty and the dark side of things; the loveliness of cornfields and full sails, but the ruin as well.  And I see them at the same time, at once ecstatic at the beauty of things, and chary of that ecstasy.  The Japanese have a phrase for this dual perception: mono no aware.  it means “beauty tinged with sadness,” for there cannot be any real beauty without the indolic whiff of decay.  For me, living is the same thing as dying, and loving is the same thing as losing, and this does not make me a madwoman; I believe it can make me better at living, and better at loving, and, just possibly, better at seeing.

– Sally Mann, Hold Still

7 thoughts on “beauty tinged with sadness”

  1. Such a beautiful expression from Ms Mann’s memoir. We’ve spent hours reading and skimming Hold Still and watching her most recent documentary(2005), What Remains. She is today and has always been such a vibrant and visceral documentarian. Her sense of self-awareness and its relationship to her work is quite amazing.

  2. The ephemeral nature of a flower’s bloom or an entire childhood DOES make it more beautiful. That sense of living on the edge of transition is what makes us human.

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