Cat’s Eye View of Japanese Architecture vol. 5 – Perishable Landscape

Do you know what colored maple leaves and cherry blossoms have in common?

The answer is that both are perishable. Their colors, red of maple and pink of cherry, last only for a few days.

Japanese people cherish them because of their short lives. Yes, I said “because of”, not “in spite of”. The logical explanation could be that you value them more, because you can own them only for a while.

Yet I think there is more in that. There are different kinds of emotion brought in and carried away by these perishable elements; You are happy when they arrive. You enjoy seeing them yet are afraid they will go soon. When they start falling, when they are even more beautiful than they were on trees, you feel sorrow.

Is this cat appreciating the perishable landscape in a Japanese garden? Probably not. Yet I think she (as a side note, almost all of calico cats are female) understands the impermanence of nature more than human beings do. She acknowledges its beauty, maybe plays with it, and then let it go. (Y)