Wabi-sabi offers a refuge from the modern world’s obsession with perfection, and accepts imperfections as all the more meaningful – and, in their own way, beautiful.
For decades, the Old Forge was the holy grail of the British outdoors community. The UK's remotest pub, it could only be reached via boat or a three-day walk through one of Britain's last true wildernesses, the Knoydart peninsula in Scotland. A dispute between some locals and a new owner threatened the legend—until they decided to open up a pub of their own.
The discovery alarmed scientists. In the absence of worms, North American hardwood forests develop a thick blanket of duff—a mille-feuille of slowly decomposing leaves deposited over the course of years, if not decades. That layer creates a home for insects, amphibians, birds, and native flowers. But when worms show up, they devour the litter within the space of a few years. All the nutrients that have been stored up over time are released in one giant burst, too quickly for most plants to capture. And without cover, the invertebrate population in the soil collapses.