Catch 22 (wild food year week 9)
Nature’s abundant treasures, the heart’s treasures as well as the infinite wealth of time – both everywhere and nowhere, throw up a reality at once both as rich in meaning and significance as in the solidified phantoms of an anxious mind.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner: What will they be? Where will they be found? How long will it take – today, tomorrow, the next day, next week, next month? Relentless! Relentless! Relentless!
Catch 22: I have no money. Foraging takes a long time. I need somewhere to live: I can’t afford the rent and am in debt, therefore I have had to put on extra foraging courses and write more magazine articles in order to pay the rent. Having put on more foraging courses to pay the rent I now have no time to forage. Not putting on more courses and writing more articles would, of course, free up plenty of time for foraging but, then, no money and, hence, nowhere to live. Catch 22. The project is over.
A Buddhist parable.
Sometime long ago there was, there still is and, sometime in the future, there will still be, a poor and very troubled man. He had grown so deeply and inescapably in debt that in sheer mad frustration, exasperation and desperation he ran away to hide in the wilderness. One day while wandering there in search of food he came upon a large chest that had been filled with rare, beautiful and exquisite treasures. Whoever had placed the treasure inside the chest had also attached a large and brightly polished mirror to the inside of the lid. When the poor man saw the chest he was overjoyed. Without hesitation and with great excitement he immediately set about opening the chest, but as he lifted the lid and pushed it to rest upright on its rusty hinges he saw his own face and become agitated and extremely frightened. He nervously wrung his hands together and said to the face before him, “I thought the chest was empty and did not belong to anyone. I didn’t know that you were inside. Please, sir, I beg of you, don’t be angry with me. I shall leave you in peace with your amazing treasures and be immediately on my way.” He then dropped the mirrored lid and with even greater desperation than before, fled further and deeper into the impenetrable wilderness………
The Mirror in the Treasure Chest, adapted from the Bayu jing – the Chinese Buddhist One Hundred Parable Sutra