Magic fruit

In a poem by the Chinese mountain hermit Ch’ing-hung, he recalls the day a gibbon came and took pears from his tree. The passage reminds translator Bill Porter of the story of the Taoist who took the magic peaches of immortality while visiting the Queen Mother of the West. In western lore, we may recall the golden apples of the Hesperides and, of course, the fruit of the Garden of Eden and St. Augustine’s purloined pears of youth. In the west a monster jealously guards the fruit; there is a message of despair, ignorance, and loss. Perhaps we are, with Ch’ing-hung, better to identify with the “no-mind” gibbon. I think of the “no-mind” bears, birds, and raccoons that “steal” the “fruit” — sunflower seeds — from my proffered garden and wonder at this magic.