Saluda could stand to take notes on wabi sabi

Published 10:57 pm Thursday, September 12, 2013

Year after year after year

I have come to love slowly

how old houses hold themselves—

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

before November’s drizzled rain

or the refreshing light of June—

as if they have all come to agree

that, in time, the days are no longer

a matter of suffering or rejoicing.

I have come to love

how they take on the color of rain or sun

as they go on keeping their vigil

without need of a sign, awaiting nothing

more than the birds that sing from the eaves,

the seizing cold that sounds the rafters.

– Robert Cording

“Old Houses”

I love old houses. Old cars. Things that have a past, a history, flaws, character that knits a story together over the years, a sense of memory. Here in Saluda our historic buildings, many old homes along shaded streets and the railroad tracks all are part of the town’s history. Over the decades, structures have been lost to fire, disrepair and sometimes just someone wanting something new and “improved.”

Folks, I’ve said this repeatedly, perhaps ad nauseum: but once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Word came to my unbelieving ears that an old building, a part of Saluda’s past, on one of our seven hills, might be destroyed and replaced with a modular home. Can they do that? All I can say is we, as a town, as a community, must protect what we have and cherish it. In Japan, a broken pottery vessel is patched with gold, making the flaw something of great beauty: wabi sabi it is called.

When you lose pieces of a puzzle, threads of a tapestry, you start to lose your character, your place. When one old building goes, another can follow and another and another. I realize in real life, things are constantly changing, nothing remains the same. That yes, it’s often cheaper to put up new, discard old. Old cars go to junkyards. Houses get burnt, torn down or abandoned. It happens. Yet, in our heart, we long for a sense of place, that feel of something that is treasured, that feel of being home. And, Saluda has that still: a small town with a big heart. We just need to think before doing something irrevocable. Maybe learn a little wabi sabi of our own.


Saluda Tailgate Market continues at West Main Street public parking lot on Fridays, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Many Saluda businesses are open later on Friday.

Top of the Grade Concerts – Sept. 13 and Sept. 27, 6:30-8:30 p.m., McCreery Park. Bring your own chair; food available.

Charlie Ward’s Pig-Out Memorial Barbecue is Sept. 14, 5–7 p.m. at McCreery Park.

Saluda Welcome Table is every Tuesday; dinner served from 5:30-7 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Saluda United Methodist Church. All welcome; donations accepted.

Saluda Community Land Trust meets 3 p.m., Sept. 18 at the pavilion at McCreery Park. Enjoy Walks in the Woods on Sept. 22: gather at Saluda Library at 2 p.m. to carpool. SCLT, with the appreciated support of Polk County Community Foundation, will have goats munching kudzu at the Pearson Falls Road wastewater treatment plant. Keep up with all that SCLT does by visiting or calling 828-749-1560.

Blue Ridge Contra Dance will be on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. at the Party Place & Event Center.

There’ll be a community potluck and bingo at Saluda Center, Sept. 30, 6 p.m. Bring your favorite dish to share.

Opera lovers, mark your calendars. On Oct. 10 the University of South Carolina’s Music Department and Historic Thompson’s Store will bring a magical evening opera/dinner to the Back Alley Deck and Boarding House Venue. Contact Judy Ward at Thompson’s Store 828-749-2321 for more information and reservations.

Saluda sympathy goes out to families of Dorothy Pearce, Lucille Stephenson, Horace Pace, Joe Brown and Foster Archer.

Happy September Birthday to Dale McEntire, Joni Rauschenbach, Sonya Monts, Linda Kaye Hayes, Carol Kenfield, Debbie Fisher, Leslie Jespersen, Linda Mintz, Sheila Billeter, Cary Pace, Ross Arrington, Hop Foster, Chuck Hearon, Alexia Timberlake and Clark Thompson.

Thank you, dear readers for reading this column. It’s my goal to make you feel as if you were enjoying a Saluda Time visit on the porch swing with a glass of cool tea.

Please feel free to contact me at; or 828-749-1153. You may also visit my website at for more writing and art, or find me on facebook.