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


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7 Comments

  1. Posted June 19, 2015 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    I am reading this right now!! xoxo

  2. Posted June 19, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I love this. Just love it. It’s the way I see life, the awareness of a moment that holds both the present happiness and future sadness. Thank you.

  3. Richard Kennedy
    Posted June 19, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    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.

  4. Posted June 19, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    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.

  5. Posted June 19, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Oh, Lindsey. Absolutely love this. Thank you so much. xo

  6. Posted June 19, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I think of this as Anne Shirley’s “the queer ache”

  7. Posted June 19, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Perfect. “beauty tinged with sadness” Love this.