Walking the Ensnow Forever

Bright, dark or psychedelic, the enso Zen circle in Japanese art contains everything and nothing.

With gray hair growing down my back and a scraggly goatee touching my chest when I lower my chin, I envision myself painting enso as a laughing bent old man sitting seiza in the frigid attic of my home until my last frail breath.

For now, though, a snow shovel is my brush.

My cold art exists in the Zen garden behind our Scranton PA home, nature’s gift in the midst of a winter storm, an empty white space upon which I carve out a zone to mindfully walk kinhin meditation around the circle I call ensnow.  

Ensnow disappears when the snow melts. Another ensnow awaits when frosty fine flakes fall once again.

World peace guardian Kazuaki (Kaz) Tanahashi, one of my teachers, paints beautiful enso.

See for yourself


As a teenager in Japan, Kaz practiced a new dynamic art with O’Sensei, the founder of aikido, the way of peace and harmony. When the pandemic attacked our planet last year, after decades of practice I stepped off-line, left my aikido/aikijujutsu training partners in the dojo and adapted. Since the vital life energy called ki is where you make it, to protect myself and others I searched for a new path.

When winter arrived, I found refuge in a frozen circle.

Like Kaz, now ensnow is my teacher.

How many intrepid travelers over time have walked a similar path on a wondrous icy day? Who else might have made an ensnow? What future seeker might one day discover its enlightened stillness and dance within its form?

One breath.

One stroke.

Meeting in the moment.