Perfectly Imperfect

Integrative Medicine in Idaho

By Laurie Buchanan

henever I’m in a vehicle winding snakelike alongside an Idaho river, the view is apt to reveal vineyards, hop fields, silos, dairy cows, gap-toothed windmills, hay bales, or a wide brushstroke of crops stretching toward a topaz sky dotted with meringue-like clouds. To me, this is wabi-sabi scenery.

Wabi-sabi is an ancient Japanese perspective that embraces the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, and incompletion. As a dyed-in-the-wool minimalist, this concept resonates with me. The intersection where wabi (minimalism) and sabi (functionalism) meet is my creative muse: space, quiet solitude, and simplicity. More important, wabi-sabi is a precise descriptor of Idaho—traditional, down-to-earth, and perfectly imperfect. Underplayed and modest, wabi-sabi is imperfect natural beauty.  It celebrates character born of time and use. Weatherworn, chipped, cracked, or imbalanced—simplicity is its hallmark. That’s why I think it’s like Idaho: traditional and down-to-earth. Even so, visitors shouldn’t let our county fairs, rodeos, tractor pulls, and a generous sprinkling of John Deere caps fool them: wabi-sabi doesn’t necessarily mean unsophisticated.

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