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Abscission

October 24, 2014 5 comments

©Toni Tan

I see it, a story told in the ephemeral nature of color. It’s impossible not to look, but I close my eyes, and listen. It’s the sound of change. Autumn calling out in its rustling and rain of leaves when the wind blows. I want to remember it. Not just see it, but feel it. On a fall day enveloped in grey mist, a flash of red leaves will interrupt the fog, burning through the space. On a brighter autumn day, sunshine moving through the leaves is as illuminating as enlightenment.

Change is forever our status. Fluidity in time and space, the flow of the circle. We don’t think about change, but sometimes something shakes you into awareness: a birth, a death, or the brief and brilliant leaves coming loose from their branches.

This is part of the cyclical design. Trees are actively cutting off their leaves in a survival process: abscission. As days of autumn fade into cold temps and less sunlight, trees reabsorb nutrients from their leaves. This includes chlorophyll and deprived of it, leafy greenness gives way to color. The leaf shedding allows trees to pull in energy and get through winter. It is a cycle of conservation. And sacrifice. The trees grow new skin over every spot where a leaf once was. The trees will live. The leaves will not, but they are making a grand exit.

Nature shows us tangible, real-time change. Change endlessly seeking balance. Here’s a truth about nature, from the Tao: “heaven and earth are ruthless.” Sometimes brutal. Sometimes bittersweet. Life bulldozes through its bleakness – its broken rocks and its broken hearts and its bankruptcy. It’s a dusty path that leads to more busted rocks and broken hearts. More loss. Loss and gain. Gain too, because it’s a green path as well. Life dances through its brightness – its beauty and its bounty. Hearts and moons waxing to full, emptying, filling. A spectrum from bleak to bright.

Energy is always moving. A seed planted, a harvest reaped. Growth, decay, growth. A mended fence. A broken window. Repair. Despair. Gain. Loss. Life. The ever evolving permutation of things swirling in the yin yang pinwheel. We live, survive, thrive, fail, fly.

There’s a red arrow on the map: You are here on this autumn day. And everything is changing. The leaves animate the space. Vivid. Vibrant. Radiant. For now.

Toni Tan

Year of the Horse

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Happy New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

moon horse

That beautiful snake slithered away on its reptilian belly, just clearing the hooves of the horse, who galloped in on the new moon. The warm blooded Chinese horse is a burning flame and this year’s wood horse will feed the fire.

It’s your horse, it will carry you, with its incredible power and spirit. Look into its big, beautiful eyes and you will see loyalty, independence and a little bit of a rebel heart. It’s time for adventure.

C’mon, let’s go for a ride.

Happy Trails….

xo, Toni

horse 2014

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

Autumn Reflection and The Tao

October 7, 2012 2 comments

Some fall thoughts on the Tao and water over fire…Rest here, breathe.