Saturday, October 1, 2011

Strawberries and Plums

At the funeral on Wednesday the priest shared this Buddhist parable:

A man walking across a field encounters a tiger. The man runs and the tiger chases him. Coming to a cliff, the man caught hold of a wild vine and swung himself over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Terrified, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger had come, waiting to eat him. Then two mice, one white and one black, little by little began to gnaw away at the vine. Realizing his situation the man looks around and sees nearby a luscious strawberry. Grasping the vine in one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other, and popped it in his mouth. How sweet it tasted!

We are that man. Lots of tigers. Lots of mice. And if we look around, lots of ripe strawberries.

This reminder to taste the fruit of life brought to mind the poem, “This is Just to Say” by
William Carlos Williams:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

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