I am still reading Ishmael. But I sort of ration my reading of that book. I’m trying to match #1 daughter, who has frequent impulses to throw the book across the room. So in between times I am reading other things, including Candyfreak, a book which I want to recommend to you.
I can recommend it enthusiastically, because it is funny, insightful, and filled with things about economics, history, geography, politics, and science, as well as being the record of a cross-country tour of specialty chocolate factories. I read this mostly out in the garden when I had intended to be inside cutting for my quilt.
The place where I live is like paradise in May. Walking to church in the morning, sitting out in the gardern in the afternoon with the sound of birdsong and the scents of roses and herbs and honeysuckle, with the boys picking and eating ripe strawberries — time could stop right there and no one would miss it.
Yesterday was Pentecost. The children’s sermon began with a gourd for the kids to experience, a gourd with seeds dried inside it so it could be a rattle. The pastor talked about seeds with the kids. She made a loud, wild noise with the gourd, and then used it to keep time while singing. The children joined her, and then I did, and then gradually the whole congregation did. Afterward, she explained that the wild noise was like chaos, and the rhythmic playing was what happened when things were in the hands of a master. Some of the children said they had liked the chaos better, and we got to hear the pastor’s infectious laugh, and then she led the children in a prayer thanking God for “giving us a way to live which brings good things into the world.”
Meanwhile, Ishmael was about the idea that the world was disorderly until humans came along to name everything, and about the dangerous and mistaken idea of good and evil. The agricultural revolution and the idea of there being a right way to live were central themes in the section I read.
I love it when the same topic arises repeatedly in different places. Ishmael was talking about the natural laws of competition — including the one that says that there is no benefit to entirely eliminating your competition. Then Candyfreak had many sections detailing the business practices that make it impossible for small companies to compete with huge ones, even when they have superior products and people actually want their products. Ishmael was talking about greed, and Candyfreak brings that notion up repeatedly in a variety of contexts. The juxtaposition was interesting.
This was our psalm yesterday. It’s one of my favorites, especially the part that says “the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro,
and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. “
Don’t you just love the leviathan frolicking? And the image of big things and small things, natural things and human-made things all sharing the space happily. This, again, is a topic in Ishmael.
We also had a blessing of prayer shawls. Mine is not finished yet, but Mrs. M called me to come up with the rest of the knitters — or down, in my case, from the choir loft — and it was nice to take part in the ceremony which I had seen from a back pew the first day I visited the church.
It was also very nice to have #2 daughter with me.