Ramshackle explorations


Going within

Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness.  Wabi-sabi is ambivalent about separating beauty from non-beauty or ugliness.  The beauty of wabi-sabi is in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly.  Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else.  Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view.  Beauty is thus an altered state of consciousness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace.

~ Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi:  For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers



I have long been fascinated by the tumbling down, the crumbling, the shabby, the falling apart.  One of my explorations during my short break involved a couple of houses that have seen better days.

Inside Out

Inside Out

Wabi sabi acknowledges three things:  ‘nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, and nothing is finished.’

~ Richard Powell

Icicles in the living room

Icicles in the living room

I wonder about the stories behind the crumbling, tumbling, ramshackle houses.  Who lived there?  What happened to the people who lived there?  Why was the house left to nature?  As a child, I was sure the abandoned, decrepit homes were inhabited by ghosts.  Perhaps they were/are.  Maybe not ghosts of beings, but the ghosts of the past.  Of living and dying and living.  Certainly the walls must have some interesting tales to tell, if only they could talk.  Possibly they do talk, if only we could/would listen.

Flying the coop


Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
It is the beauty of things modest and humble.
It is the beauty of things unconventional.

~ Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi:  For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers



Beyond the wondering and the childhood imaginings, I find beauty in the gradual falling apart of a structure.  There is a gracefulness to the way nature takes things back to the earth.

As I zoomed by a barn

As I zoomed by a barn

To be perfect is to develop expanding imperfection.

~ Ethylios

Country living

A glimpse of country living

The Lake Erie snow machine was cranking here in the Bogs this morning.  We didn’t get much accumulation.  Just a nice dusting.  It is bitterly cold outside with wild and gusty winds.  I noticed they took the warm-up out of the forecast.  Looks like winter is going to stick around for a while.

Today's view of the pond

Today’s view of the pond during a snow squall

I think that’s about it from me and from the Bogs for today.  Thank you for visiting.  It’s not a very good day for a walk around the pond so once again, I think we’ll just hang out by the fireplace, keeping warm and cozy.

Snow in the willows

Snow in the willows

Have a delightful day, evening, night… whenever and wherever you are on the spectrum of time.  🙂

February 2013 009a

As the snow falls


37 Comments on “Ramshackle explorations”

  1. Dana says:

    I’ve always been intrigued by the ramshackle and run-down, too. I think your photos captured those old homes beautifully!

  2. dadirri7 says:

    whimsical and wonderful robin! i too love old buildings of the past tumbling down, because they were built with natural materials that biodegrade beautifully; no plastics, vinyls, synthetics to moulder on forever despoiling the view … when will we ever learn?

  3. I love the “escape” house.

  4. rrosen1 says:

    Some interesting work today. There is a whole group of people who record photographs in abandoned urban buildings such as warehouses, mills, and factories. There is an element of danger both from the conditions of the buildings and the obvious trespass. There is an amazing time lapse done in an abandoned asylum. It really portrays some deplorable conditions.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Robert. 🙂
      A few years ago, I saw an exhibit called Detroit Disassembled by Andrew Moore. It was fascinating. The photographer took photos of all sorts of abandoned buildings throughout Detroit, Michigan. The image that stuck with me was one of trees growing up in an area where school books were left behind.

  5. Who knew there was an actual concept/name for this. wabi-sabi. Very cool.
    So much of beauty is overlooked because it is overlooked in a quick glance and generalization.
    Thanks for the quotes and introduction to wabi-sai world

  6. I can’t help when I pass a tumbling down decrepit old house but wonder….I paint mental pictures of the lives lived, the lives who planned the houses, made them homes, and grew over the years….. Wonderful post.

  7. Deborah Lee says:

    When I was a kid, we used to ride by these kinds of houses and say, “Oh, there’s Aunt Mary’s house!” I love the art of Wabi-sabi.

  8. As you know from my explorations in Oman, I too love ruins and wonder about the prior inhabitants. In Oman, I know why people left their homes, because of modernization after the Sultan took over in 1970, but I wonder why these people in Ohio abandoned their homes. I would think someone would buy the land and either clear off the houses or build something new! Interesting post, Robin, and love the quotes.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Cathy. 🙂 I always enjoy your explorations through the ruins. As for why people here leave their abandoned homes, I wonder that too. There is a house in a nearby wooded area that fascinates me. There are thousands upon thousands of daffodils planted around the house and in the woods, yet there is no road or driveway to the house. I have never seen anyone there or any sign that the house or land are (or were) for sale. It just sits there among the trees and daffodils (in the spring), slowly crumbling and tumbling back to earth.

  9. Love wabi-sabi. You have some great photos in this collection. The first allowed my imagination to run — what am I looking at, so modern and yet in disrepair. And the last — love the clothespins and the dept of field you shot — as i if I am about to hang a song or two, never mind the weather…

  10. Angel and I call them the Falling-Down Houses, and there are several that we pass as we go about our weekly activities…One that no one knew about has appeared by magic (also known as a blizzard that knocked-down the trees that were hiding it), leading to endless speculation as we drive past…
    Love your photos, and I’m so glad you’re back!

  11. Wabi-sabi for me brings to mind the beauty in aging human beings.. weathered skin and changing shape and yet, those piercing eyes of beauty beam out. You’ve done a lovely job showing the beauty today, I love vintage pieces for this reason. Do you use Photoshop for your adjustments? I’m just taking a class in that and love it! xx

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Smidge. 🙂 I do use Photoshop. Most of the time I use it to sharpen and/or tweak the contrast and color, and to resize. Sometimes I go crazy and press all sorts of buttons to see what will happen.

  12. Phil Lanoue says:

    All very well done Robin!

  13. Gracie says:

    Brilliant shots, Robin! You’ve given this ramshackle a breath of life.

  14. “Escape” is a wonderful picture – it stirs something inside of me… Somehow I had never come across the term wabi-sabi before – thank you for introducing me to a new concept!

  15. munchow says:

    It’s really fun to follow your ramshackle exploration. And you came up with a handful of excellent pictures. Some of them both mysterious and magical. My favourites are the first one from the top, as well as the third and fourth from the bottom. Beautifully captured and processed. All of them.

  16. dearrosie says:

    I agree with Otto that your photos are brilliant. My favorite is the “green house” (#5)
    I’m also surprised at the number of abandoned homes in your neighborhood. That’s really sad.

    So sad to read about the thousands of daffodils growing around that house with no road to the front door … A nice story waiting to be written…:D

    The beauty of wabi-sabi is in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly.
    one person’s flowers is another person’s weeds…

  17. Kathy says:

    Wondering how different our lives might be if we could really accept the wabi-sabi within ourselves. Totally, fully… Beautiful photos & words, Robin. Thank you.

  18. Sallyann says:

    Mother nature and Father time working in harmony again. 🙂

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