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Posts Tagged ‘nyc’

A Soldier In The War On Sadness

August 12, 2015 7 comments

robin-williams-saturday-night-live-1984

He was no ordinary mime. A portal opened from another realm, and he would step through and onto Planet Earth, 40.7789º N, 73.9637º W, before the sweeping steps of the Metropolitan Museum. It was New York City in the 1970s. I was a college student, and my art class met at the museum. Whenever he was there, I was mesmerized by his vibrancy, his intensity, and his silent movement.

Watching him was that moment before lightning hits, when you can sense electricity in the air and feel the back of your neck tingle. He could bend time without uttering a word. Everything would speed up and he’d be manic, weightless, strong. Everything would shift to slow motion. He’d move with grace; centered, solid, fluid.  At times, he was as still as stone. Or animated, funny. Earthy, but not earthly, as his ephemeral creations morphed from this to that. You, my friend, like me, would stop and be in the moment.

I saw him enough that I later recognized him on a TV show, without his face paint, but still out of this world. He played an alien. The show: Happy Days. His name: Robin Williams.

You know the rest of the story. He made us laugh long and loud…he was a soldier in the war on sadness. We knew some of his own battles, but did not, until last year, know how brave he was. With so much of his work filled with language and sound, the memory of him, performing in silence, haunts me.

A portal opened from another realm, 37.9128º N, 122.4756º W. It was Paradise Cay, CA, August 11, 2014. Silently, Robin Williams stepped into it, and out of, Planet Earth. You, my friend, like me, stopped to be in the moment. We let his silence fill us.

Robin Williams

Photo: S Huszar

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New York’s Irish Heart

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day…

NY's Manhattan Bridge

Photo: Toni Tan

“Scaffolding” by Seamus Heaney

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me,

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall,
Confident that we have built our wall.


You can this photograph and more of my work on zenfolio

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

Who Am I?

February 17, 2012 8 comments

I am an avid reader of Charles R Hale’s blog called Stories Connect Love Heals. He posed the question “who are you?” – in terms of your ancestral history. He was kind enough to post my  response, and here is the full piece.

Who Am I?

I am the one who climbed out of the primordial ooze and found my grasp. I am the East African who made the tool; and the ancient warrior whose hand found the spear. I am the creative one, in Namibia, France, and Spain, who fashioned a paint brush, telling stories on cave walls. I am the Sumerian who began to plant. I am the one who plucked the string, and I am the one who pulled the trigger.

I am the shilpi whose chisel opened the eye of an Indian god. And the Chinese scholar learning the Four Arts. I am the Roman gladiator in the arena taking his last breath, and the Greek fisherman’s newborn taking its first.

I am the Pauite who believed in the ghost dance, and among the soldiers who silenced him.  I am the Slovenian discovering the flute and the Turk who built the temple. I am the one who built the bridge, and I am the one who built the prison.

I am the seanchai keeping the rich oral tradition alive with colorful tales of Ireland, and the Spartan whose culture will die. I am my immigrant grandfather and his oldest son digging deep inside a coal mine, moving closer, with each shovel of soil, to bringing my grandmother and their children across the ocean from Italy. I am the soldier who didn’t come home, and I am the soldier who did…

Who are you?

Toni