Washi tape


Apr 3, 2023

(modified Jul 10, 2023)

A creamy off-white paint color sample card reading 'Light Nougat // M260-2u'. Broad horizontal stripes on its surface are formed by washi tape printed with Van Gogh's "Patch of Grass" impressionist painting -- vibrant green, blue and pale pink upward brushstrokes with yellow flowers dotted throughout.

I didn’t have a bookmark, until now. I usually read digitally, so there was no need for one, and I try (only sometimes successfully) not to own much that I don’t need. Recently, though, a book on paper has come into my library, and I’ve found myself with nothing to mark my progress beyond a feeble attempt to memorize the page I left off upon.

This bookmark and I met at the perfect moment. It was tucked into a “free take one” box at a small café in the midwestern US — as if the response of the universe to my immediate needs, a disposable byproduct of our commercialist society, now turned on its head to become an item with lasting purpose.

It’s comforting knowing that someone else’s hands were upon it, days or hours ago, rescuing it, giving it life, and now I hold it in in my mine. I wonder if it remembers where it’s been. Tree, paper, brief bath in Light-Nougat ink, held to the walls of a kitchen or an office to nourish a vision, then reincarnated with the simple toolset of a hole punch, tape and string.

The care with which someone has interrupted the lifecycle of this easily overlooked item, picked it up and lovingly wrapped washi tape around its edges, brings me a peaceful feeling of abundance. The creator apparently didn’t need it for their own purposes, but saved it rather than wasting it nevertheless, and set it aside to wait for someone like me in a time of need. I intend to channel its inventor, searching for potential in small places, diverting resources to preserve life, and allowing one fewer new-bookmark-shaped hole in the limited resources we share.

↞  Back to notes