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14 August 2007

D is for Dorodango

Dorodango_bruce_wagnerD was a tough decision for me: Descartes, devil, delicious, disease, depression, dimples, design, determination, dig, depend, day, doughnut, droplet, détente, debutante, Depp.

And yet, with all those choices—even above dimples and Depp and dirt—it had to be dorodango.

The silt that he uses to coat the mud balls is so fine, strained through a tiny mesh sieve, like miniscule shards of glass, to a dust perfection. Holding a handful above its surface, Bruce Gardner showers the orb with dust, building up the surface and polishing it to a fine sheen at the same time. The finished balls have a cool wetness and heft to them that is satisfying, elemental, a beauty born of dirt and patience and care.

I’ve written of dorodango before, but I keep coming back to them, rolling around in my head the metaphors that they launch, the meaning that I find in the process—that wet mud ball drying and growing and polishing with a simple action, over and over and over again.

Water follows the structure of the land, Robert Fritz reminds us in his wonderful book, The Path of Least Resistance. And so, we polish our own lives, creating landscapes and canyons and peaks in our lives with the very silt that we try to avoid, the dirt we disavow (another good “d” word) or hide or deny (yet another “D”).  It is the dirt of our lives—the depressions, the losses, the inequities, the failing grades in Trigonometry, the emails sent in fear or hate or haste—that shape us, polish us to a heady sheen, make us—in fact—more beautiful, more elemental, more artful and lasting.

Become a dorodango by showering in the silt and gently turning to let it fall evenly around you. Its granules hold polish and the very possibility of art.


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So have you made your own mudball yet? I'm interested to hear from someone who has made an attempt that results in less than Bruce Gardner's perfection but still holds that dorodango fascination.

"Become a dorodango by showering in the silt and gently turning to let it fall evenly around you." That does seem to be the lesson life is trying to teach me these days.

What?! You didn't choose DEPP?! ;)

I am sooooooooo glad to hear I am not the only one shocked at the Depp shunning!

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