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After The Hurricane

October 31, 2013 Leave a comment


Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs;
the sage is ruthless, and treats the people as straw dogs… ~Tao Te Ching

Hurricane Sandy came ashore in the night. The moon and the tide helped her.
She brought the waters up over the banks and into the streets. She moved with reckless abandon, took what she wanted, slinking back into the sea.

In the morning light, damage done, we surveyed the landscape — a place filled with broken glass, broken hearts, and broken dreams. Some lost everything. We cried, cleaned up, managed. This one image, a table flung far from it’s home, evoked the feeling of our grace and endurance at the mercy of nature…

The spirit of the valley never dies. ~Tao Te Ching

storm table

More of my images of Hurricane Sandy

Honor 9/11

September 11, 2013 Leave a comment


Remember who was lost, who was saved, the responders, and the soldiers; who was healed and the still healing…

Love, love and more love.

Sound of Silence

April 13, 2012 17 comments

While walking through Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, I came across this poem written on a window that had been cemented over. Even though it is not English (it’s Italian), it evokes a dark mood, with its sloping black S words on a cement wall. The alliteration creates a snaky hissing sound, and the words seem to reveal dreams with the weight of a serpent, writing, eschewing vanity (smiling monkeys “spit on mirrors”), vulgarity and its slippery steps, slinking and sinking into the night’s moon…and silence. Is this a dream of awakening — an uncoiling spiral of kundalini energy? A anxious, sexual dream filled with innuendo? What significance does this hold for the writer? What compelled him to write his dream on the wall?

I also read a friend’s blog post, author Dr. Jean Raffa’s post on the significance of dreams. It’s a exploration in brilliant decoding, explaining the meaning and symbols a particular dream revealed to her. These are the things that propel us towards spirit, their unfolding and synchronicity plug us in to a deeper awareness. But, they require an intimate relationship between our consciousness and our attention. In today’s world, we wade through information overload and a pull towards material possessions. Information is not knowledge. Objects are not symbols. They distracts us from tapping into discovery of the self. In the truth of that discovery, even when it’s painful, we have a better sense of the world and our relationship to it.

Both the wall poetry and Dr. Raffa’s blog reminded me of Paul Simon’s tune, Sound of Silence, with its recounting of a dark and moody dream. The image and symbolism remain with him when he wakes up. The song, written by Simon when he was only 21, is a cautionary tale of how our distraction, apathy and materialism point us in the wrong direction. Lack of awareness is isolating, and ultimately leads to a breakdown in communication. That kind of silence is never golden and a neon sign can never supplant our divine spark.

How about you? Do you focus on symbols, or objects? Are you brave enough to decipher and share share your dreams?

Hats and Philosophy

This sunlight linked me through the ages to that past consciousness.
~ Henry Williamson


Light and memories at Wiliamsburg’s Brooklyn Flea, New York 4/8/12


Hats

Hats by Toni Tan


Blossoms

Photo by Toni Tan

Philosophy
Confucius by Toni Tan

One Day I Shall Burst My Bud Of Calm…

March 20, 2012 14 comments

To everything, there is a season…except maybe for winter 2012 in New York city. It’s been a mild one. Although spring officially arrived, 3/20 1:14 AM EDT, the warm temps and many blooms made their appearance well in advance of the equinox.

Global warming, Positive Arctic Oscillation? One thing for certain, it’s crazy…and spring, half losing its mind from all of it says, “Bring it on.” It reminds me of this quote by Christopher Fry:

“One day I shall burst my bud of calm and blossom into hysteria.”

Soft and striking Central Park cherry blossoms

Forsythia unfolding in Central Park
Central Park Forsythia

A Central Park hill of daffodils
Daffodil Hill

A star is born
single daffodil

A Central Park bench. Eh, this is New York!
Central Park Bench