The Wu Xing, the 5 phases of life. A fivefold conceptual scheme to include the paradigm of the mutual generation of all our lives— Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. How many materials can we say truly touch our lives? Our experience with the world is elemental so in June we explore the creation cycle element— Wood.
A split here, some discoloration there. On an object, a structure, or piece of furniture these marks create the passage of time— the breath of Wabi. In the East it is a philosophy and way of life that has slowly been visiting the West. Axel Vervoordt, purveyor of objects and interiors wisely once said that wabi is "...a reminder of the transience and imperfection of all things." So next time you run your hand along an imperfect floor board try to call to mind "appearance is impermanence."
SOUND/ IF A TREE FALLS IN A FOREST...
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" After you answer that, ask your self— why? George Berkely, the father of this question was asking a philosophical question not a quantum physics condundrum. But technically, yes it does make sound.
'Elegant, delicate, and perfumed' are not typical adjectives one would use to describe wood but for Chefs and Sommeliers they are. As we examined Jess Hirsch's, 'Emotional Pairings' we also should explore the aromatics of wood and how they touch our food and wine. Oak is a classic for not just smoked meats but for our wines. Next time you reach for a bottle, seek a bottle of France's Meursault. She isn't your typecast California Cab drenched in oak but a pretty and soft representation of what oak can be. Cheers!
I once brought a piece of wood to a carpenter, asking him if he could identify the species. He looked at it, then held it to his nose and chin - and inhaled. After a lifetime of cutting woods, their quiet scent was as recognizable as the face of a loved one. I had a moment of epiphany, that perhaps I had been approaching the world wrong all along.