Beauty and Sorrow

The Paper Envelopes




is a Japanese Kanji that I like a lot. 儚い, read as Hakanai, means delicate and ephemeral. The Kanji is an apt combination of ‘man’ and ‘dream’. Life is a dream, a transient dream. There is perhaps nothing more feeble than life. The Hakanai items  — a rusty bell, a wooden plank that is full of holes made by bugs, a withered leaf — they are elegant but sorrowful. They are too delicate to be held in hands. Even a tighter grip would easily crush them.

I have kept at home a few old envelopes which my husband bought from the secondhand shop Furui Dongu. We have them placed in the display cabinet. I really like how their faded and subtle color remains vibrant. When I have leisure, I would stand in front of the cabinet to look at them closely, but I rarely take them out. They are paper after all. Years gone by, they have become thinner and thinner. Some have even lost part of their corners. I have to handle them with care. Precisely because I have always been handling them with so much care and love, every moment I am with my envelops, I have my mind dedicated to admiring them. With this level of concentration, I can feel more immensely of their charisma.

Admiring the beauty while pitying its short life; I cannot distinguish if it is joy or grief that I am feeling. Gazing at the envelops lying silently in the cabinet, I am enjoying a moment of mixed feelings.