I live in LA. The city of the new, the shiny and the detailed (or young, hip and botoxed, depending if you are talking inanimate or animate). Here, older is suspect.

But time ages stuff. Grinds it relentlessly. Some things age well. Others poorly.

Most high-tech stuff, TVs, computers, iphones, doesn’t age well, mainly because it breaks or is obsolete before it really becomes an issue. 

Think of something that does age well. Say a wooden axe handle. Use enhances it. The oil, sweat and friction of a hand sliding on wood ten thousand times enriches it. The Japanese have a name for that — wabi sabi. The word contains a sacred quality. It is the beauty of the humble and worn. Wear creates the patina of life. What life is doing to everything everywhere all the time. We can fight it. We can buy new stuff relentlessly. A consumer society doesn’t tend to produce stuff that ages well. By definition. Its motto is dump and replace. 

Or we can embrace patina. Find beauty in it. 

What a wildly different relationship we would have to our stuff and how different our economy would function if the beautiful wear and texture of time were valued rather than abhorred.



5 thoughts on “Patina

  1. Howdy I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you by accident, while I was searching on Google for topics about alzheimer treatment, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a incredible post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome job.

  2. Like forest floor and shoreline trail, they have stories to tell from the footprints of years being pressed into them. Our faces, our souls have the same passage of time as we experience others. Senses alive, we create our patina by allowing the grace of life to join us. I never really liked the idea of growing old and decided years ago to “fight it”. I now realize patina is what it is all about. I have wept at the lip of the abyss and been stunned & humbled by its beauty, its force. The soul of the craggy outlook has slammed into me. The whisper of the creek crept into my being and raised all the hair on my body. Never planned, always unexpected, always welcome. My patina is building, and I love it. Thanks Ian.

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