"Indeed", Walser writes about ash, "if one goes into this apparently uninteresting subject in any depth there is quite a lot to be said about it which is not at all uninteresting;if, for example, one blows on ash it displays not the least reluctance to fly off instantly in all directions. Ash is submissiveness, worthlessness, irrelevance itself, and best of all, it is itself pervaded by the belief that it is fit for nothing. Is it possible to be more helpless, more impotent, and more wretched than ash? Not very easily. Could anything be more compliant and more tolerant? Hardly. Ash has no notion of character and is further from any kind of wood than dejection is from exhiliration. Where there is ash there is actually nothing at all. Tread on ash, and you will barely notice that your foot has stepped on something."
from Selected Stories, Walser