Wabi Sabi Dahlia

Dahlia 'Esther' form Olbrich Gardens, Madison Wisconsin

Wabi Sabi Dahlia © 2010 Bo Mackison

This photograph is the last in the series of dahlias I’m posting on Seeded Earth (though there are many, many more in my treasure piles). I showed you ‘Esther’ as a new bud with the light from the setting sun giving her a warm glow. I showed you ‘Esther’ with her petals just beginning to fully unfurl. I gave you a peek of ‘Esther’ from a vantage not often seen – the undersides of the dahlia, softly lit (and one of my favorites). I posted a photograph of ‘Esther’ close up, so close you could almost see her heart. Today we say good bye to ‘Esther’ the dahlia, as she is on the wabi-sabi part of her journey.

What is wabi-sabi?  As defined by architect Tadao Ando:

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all.

Seems fitting that this is the photo for today. Today is one of those wabi-sabi sorts of days.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Perfectly wabi-sabi!!!

  2. A wonderful series, Bo, and a great way to end it.

    I was looking at our daylilies yesterday thinking this is a good time for a wabi-sabi series.

  3. Indeed, Wabi Sabi Dahlia. Lovely!

  4. That one is going out in a colorful blaze of glory! Very nice shot!

  5. Gandalf says:

    A fitting conclusion. However, I’d name it Mohawk Dahlia. 🙂

  6. I find it hard to capture the “wabi-sabi part of a flower’s journey” — mine always look like just a dead flower. But your’s is great. Good, good job.

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