Zen Spot #38 -- Mindfulness, meditation and 4 a.m. on Via Fondazza October 17, 2018 00:00

When today is still yesterday

A new day doesn’t begin at 12 a.m. For those of us alive and well beyond midnight, the new morning doesn’t begin until 4 a.m. Despite most of the world believing it's today, we believe it's still yesterday.

Eleven days

Life changed in April 2016. Wonderfully. Europe's embrace. Eleven days, immersed in multiple cultures. Setting foot in new homes and apartments ; cooking, conversation, drawing and learning.

Driving through the Italian Alps remade me. Hobbling through the streets of a German village taught me. Loving my wooden bench at the back of a water taxi on the Grand Canal was sublime.

Twice during the trip, time stopped. The universe spoke in a way I know will cross my mind in my final moments. The first happened while I was pumping gas at an Alpine service station. Yes, pumping gas. 

At six thousand feet elevation, the station sat between two pastured rocky giants that rose another six thousand feet on either side. I was infinitesimal. Clicking the pump handle, time froze. I stopped thinking. The sun shone warmly. I have no words for the sky. Life and time waited for me.

In the moment, I had clarity.


A glorious Italian city, its homes, gardens and properties thrive in privacy. Family courtyards are only visible from fifth floor neighborhood apartments. Walls and porticos are ubiquitous, directing one's eyes skyward while strolling. Viewing the heavens is almost the only choice when walking smaller streets.

The city is quiet, especially at night. From my son’s neighborhood apartment, long before bed, long before morning, the quiet of the blackness outside signaled the sleeping body electric.


Manhattan is my second home. Walls also rise. Taxi cabs screech. It’s east to step off the curb, raise one hand, have a taxi door fly open and begin a trip to anywhere on the planet. 

In Bologna, during the day, taxis are confined to assigned stands, which can be blocks away. Despite spending a week, this fact escaped me until my very last moments in the city. Expecting New York, I experienced Italy. Having called a cab for a ride to the airport, none showed.

My flight was scheduled to leave Bologna at 6:30 a.m. The morning was cool and, as my son sipped an espresso five floors above, I sat under the portico protecting his front door, having been given the gift of another moment in time. Clarity.

Resting, having delightfully been up all night, I took this photo of the building across the street from his home. The blur of an unsteady, flashless smartphone. More silence. No cab. Hoofing five blocks with packed bags at 4:30 a.m., hoping a taxi would be sitting at the stand, I left Europe with two moments in time that will arrive again, as I fade away.



About DharmaMechanic

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 DharmaMechanic 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.

Invented by DharmaMechanic