Zen Spot #180 — Mindfulness, meditation and water’s power of erasure July 4, 2018 00:00


Perhaps the image above is indiscernible. Water, hopefully, can be seen, with its surface being broken by two wood pilings. Taken with an old smartphone, the image’s color and aversion to detail muffle a muffled story. Pursuant to making lemonade from lemons, I’ve chosen to embrace the questions posed by the photo.

Almost still water

Pounded into the silt at the bottom of a pocket of near-standing water only fifty meters from the main currents of the Delaware River, the pilings are likely remnants of a dock that would allow a boat with a five foot draft to rest. Surrounding docks — those within two or three hundred meters — could, at one time, welcome large container ships.

The dock is gone. Among the questions begged is the role of water’s and man’s erasure.


Without taking time to review the image above carefully, the bolts protruding from the left post are easily missed and, if so, the element’s influence on this little corner of the environment are also missed. The river’s attempt to erase thousands of stories told by the boats and people who embarked could be misunderstood as an inability to erase — and erasure is a story to behold. Not to be missed, the slow-motion parable of a structure being eaten, after having been torn down, is one of elegance and mystery.

The bolts appear to have secured a wood walkway, before its planks were twisted out like rotten teeth with pliers. The image of a bloody jaw and gums notwithstanding, the bent galvanized bolts and washers betray a force of will directed to erase. Perhaps more mystery than elegance is evident but the image of the natural world performing a slow seductive dance, calling her progeny home, offers a movement to behold. Eventually, each piling will fall, its decay expedited. The bolts will be absorbed by silt and covered by mud, found perhaps in a thousand years.

Millions of stories erased by water.


About Michael DeSoi  

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 Michael has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

 What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?