If Walls Could Talk – Tea and Image


“It is not my responsibility to be anyone else but myself.”

– Verna L. Hamilton

Greatness dwells in unexpected places. For example, this grand architectural image is located underground the Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum subway station. In spite of its obscure location, its beauty is hard to deny and the image is difficult to miss.

(For visitors: Please try not to gawk at the MTA vending machine. If it seems confusing, then buy a MetroCard from the station attendant.)

It draws our attention because the last place we expect to see opulence is beneath the surface. We tend to associate plaster, sculpture, keystones, and other ornate decoration with what people can see readily.

It makes sense since at one point these architectural elements were above ground.

“What’s a nice image like you doing in a place like this?” we ask.

The answer is simple: Adding extraordinary beauty in ordinary and often overlooked places.

Inside Out

Again, the above quote comes from my personal mission statement.

Excuse me, please.

There’s a question from the newest Straight From The Leaf readers…

Ah, yes. Please do pour yourself a cup of tea.

Speaking of tea, isn’t it interesting how regardless of where they are now, both architectural decorations and tea ware start out as powder and clay?

Take a sip and think about it.

Consider this tea set at the SUNY Confucius Institute of Business (CIB) in Midtown East Manhattan. It is not only a gracious tea service, but it also helps me focus on remembering my Mandarin lessons.

(Xie xie Wen lao shi!)

Be it clay, a tea leaf, or the human spirit: there is an intrinsic beauty contained within raw material. It becomes whatever is necessary for a given space and/or moment.

One day the molded clay adorns a public monument. Another day it adorns the walls within a public transportation station.

One day the young tea leaf grows surrounded by thousands. Another day it’s plucked, bruised, rolled, and dried to bring liquid satisfaction to others.

As for us human spirits, our days are as individual as our fingerprints. Thankfully, we daily decide how deep and clear to make our marks.

Here’s to leaving impressions worth talking about… Cups up!


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