Writer-director Doris Dörrie has made a wonderfully touching and inspiring documentary about zen priest and best-selling cookbook author Edward Espe Brown. It is about food and dignity and touch and mindfulness, sufficiency and abundance, physical, spiritual, and emotional hunger, anger and satisfaction. It is funny and moving and inspiring and even in its own way nourishing. And it has a wonderful score. It is worth seeing just for the scene when Brown recites the poem his mother included in a letter just before she died, about a duck that “reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity — which it is. He has made himself a part of the boundless by easing himself into just where it touches him.”
Now we’re ready to look at something pretty special. It’s a duck, riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf. No it isn’t a gull. A gull always has a raucous touch about him. This is some sort of duck, and he cuddles in the swells.
He isn’t cold, and he is thinking things over. There is a big heaving in the Atlantic, and he is a part of it.
He looks a bit like a mandarin, or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree.
But he has hardly enough above the eyes to be a philosopher. He has poise, however, which is what philosophers must have.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is. And neither do you. But he realizes it.
And what does he do, I ask you? He sits down in it! He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity — which it is. He has made himself a part of the boundless by easing himself into just where it touches him.
I like the duck. He doesn’t know much, but he’s got religion.