I got mad at my husband the other day. He knocked over a coffee cup, which broke. It was just a coffee cup. It was also a cup I had purchased on a trip to Austria when we were living in Paris. I was incensed by his carelessness and sad that one more memory was gone.
This morning as I was cleaning out the dishwasher in a rush, I picked up two plates at the same time with one hand. One of them slipped and broke on the floor. I remembered my anger at my husband and looked at the pieces of pottery on the floor. I thought to myself, "Am I as angry with myself as I was with Bill? Was I being fair to him the other day?" The plate that I dropped was part of a set from Hagi in Japan that I bought while we were living in Tokyo. Hagi is a pottery town. Its pottery is prized by tea masters because the milky white glaze absorbs some of the moisture from the tea and gradually changes color.
This isn't the first time a plate from Japan or Europe has crashed to the floor. Our history of living overseas is slipping through our fingers. On our return home as I was unpacking boxes, I came across several carefully packed pieces that had broken in transit even before we were home.
|I purchased this bowl at a pottery fair near Mashiko, a Japanese pottery town|
At first I tried to repair the pottery myself. The cracks were obvious or the pieces didn't stay together. Then I found someone who repaired broken ceramics. She eventually stopped doing this practice because of the toxic substances she had to use to glue the pieces together. I have since just collected the broken pieces. I dream of a mosaic wall of them, but I've never found the time or inclination to really pursue the project.
|Repaired plate by an expert|
I think of the Japanese way. Because of their belief in wabi sabi, they appreciate brokenness. They often repair a broken item with resin and powdered gold lacquer. They call this Kintsugi, another thoughtful Japanese practice to lessen life's mistakes and accidents.
|The art of Kintsugi|
The cup without its handle now holds some lemons by the window waiting to ripen. The Hagi plate is in pieces still. I may try Kintsugi to make them whole again or they may end up on the stack of shards out on our deck. Wabi Sabi. That's the way life goes.
Check out this website to find out more about Japanese pottery towns.