Today Jody, Linda and I went to an Asian market in North London. Jody and I had never been there before. We found ourselves surrounded by culinary exotica, such as an aquarium jam-packed with tilapia fish; a veggie called a drumstick, which was two feet long and very narrow; a package of chocolate rice porridge; and another one of crispy spiral rice strings. New is good.
Down one aisle of various seeds, nuts and noodles, I spotted a clear bag of mustard seeds. No thought made me stop, but stop I did. I stared at the perfect little kernels, and it took a minute or so for me to get what I was staring about: the population of the world. That’s logical, isn’t it?
Last year, I decided to meditate on all the people in the world. And so began a search for a substance representing all those folks, and a bowl to hold them in. I finally found a clear glass bowl about 14 inches in diameter that I knew would work. As for the contents, I headed to a bulk food store for inspiration. Nothing doing. So I tried a gardening centre. There I found a big bag of an aggregate – tiny pieces of something. And into the bowl the stuff went.
I ran my fingers through at least 50,000 people but it didn’t ring true. I couldn’t see them as human beings. So the lovely bowl just sat beside my meditation chair for months with no one opening his heart to all those pieces of crushed rock.
And then there’s today. I set the bag of seeds on the dining room table and cogitated upon what implements I’d need to open the secrets of the universe. I decided on an old film canister (inside the roll said “Kodak Gold 220 35 mm film” -such a blast from the past); a straight-edged knife; two big soup bowls; a small dessert cup; a kitchen funnel; and later … a thimble. I spread a whole bunch of seeds onto the tablecloth and started separating them, two by two, with the knife. Plop went each pair into one of the big bowls.
Jody was sitting at the table too, using a nutcracker to get a bag of pistachios opened. She looked at me and asked, “Bruce, what are you doing?” “Creating the world’s population.” Her look in response was one of fascinated incredulity. Jody then returned to cracking, and me to plopping.
When I got to one hundred of the little darlings, I poured them into the dessert cup, and from there via funnel into the film canister. Peering inside, I noted that the seeds barely covered the bottom of the can. Hmmm. More brain power needed: “Jody, do you have a thimble?” “Yeah. In the sewing kit downstairs, on the ironing board.” Descending gracefully, I located said ironing board but no sewing kit. After much pulling out of cabinet drawers and generally messing around, I remembered that I had ironed a shirt a few weeks ago and had taken stuff off the board. Lifting this and lifting that, I found the kit on the bottom of the pile. Inside was my choice of thimbles. I grabbed the smallest one and jaunted upstairs with fire in my heart.
I decided to scrape mustard seeds off the table in hundreds > big bowl > dessert cup > funnel over thimble > pour. Unfortunately, this was a very old thimble, with an uneven base. Three times it spilled as I funnelized hundred by hundred. My goodness. Jody, avid nutcracker that she was, took a moment or two to check out the feverish and flawed determination of her lovely husband. She didn’t say a thing, though.
Well, whoever you are out there in WordPress land, I have a lot more to say about this adventure of the mind and knife, but I’m falling asleep. So I’ll continue the story tomorrow. This evening I just wanted to plant a seed.
Good night. Sweet dreams.