eat the strawberry

I’ve always been impressed by the Buddhist story about a man, running from pursuers, who finds himself going over the edge of a cliff, at the bottom of which are a passel of slavering tigers just waiting for him.  His fall is caught by a protruding ledge.  On that ledge are growing wild strawberries, and he eats one.  End of story.

At first I was overly concerned with, well, yeah, but what about after he eats the berry? What then? Among other silly questions.  Of course now I know that this story pretty much describes life, in a nutshell.  At least it describes MY life, and I think I can finally report, Gentle Reader, that I have indeed learned to eat that strawberry.  Having narrowly avoided electrocution in the laundromat ( a pipe burst, whole place flooded with a few inches of water on the floor, I’m standing next to a bank of dryers set to HOT!! all full of wet, flopping clothes), I went on to surmount monstrously high triple digit temperatures AND tempers, and find yet another internet home (at least for a while).  This new spot involves the constant fending off of cats but I suppose things could be worse.

This business of being alive is strange and gets stranger by the moment if you pay any attention at all.  But I think the strawberry in the story may represent faith, in a way.  The truth is, there is always a strawberry somewhere, even if in one’s darkest moments one may be thinking that strawberries are extinct, or a figment of one’s fevered imagination.   They do exist, however, and another thing about them is you cannot live in expectation of finding them or making them appear or anything of the sort.  They just ARE, along with all that other stuff, but somehow understanding that allows a person to get through many experiences and ultimately makes it all, somehow, easier.  So.  When you see joy or beauty, engage with it.  It will probably save you and at least you will be in a slightly better frame of mind when encountering the snakes, dragons, and tigers that always await.

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