Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
We also took her for a walk on the beach, which she absolutely loved; that is to say, she fell asleep almost immediately and stayed in dreamland until we got back in the car.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
In the garden of edibles:
Shinto Gate at Japanese Hill & Pond Garden:
The golden calf episode. A number of interesting things in the story, which I'd known primarily from a Simon & Garfunkel song, "Sound of Silence" (I think my parents had explained the reference to me: "And the people bowed and prayed /To a neon god they'd made" -- though I'm not sure they explained the words immediately thereafter, that the sign "flashed out its warning /With the words that it was forming, /And the sign said 'The words of the prophets are /written on the subway walls /And tenement halls'").
I was a bit surprised by the story of the golden calf. It's formed of the people's gold jewelry -- presumably the spoils they took from Egypt at the end of the plagues? The people are very specific in how they imbue the golden calf with an identity - it is specifically Yahweh God, not some pagan god of their own (or their neighbors') invention. They specifically say that it's the calf who brought them out of Egypt. It's strange, in a way, that even in their idolatry they recognize the one true God. But I suppose that's typical of human nature. We are blind to our own invention of idols and we elevate them while we pay lip service to God. By calling the calf God, they are making their god into something quite a bit smaller and more controllable than God.
Moses learns about the idolatry, initially, not through his own eyes, but through hearsay from God. Though I can't help thinking that might be a bit more reliable than your usual hearsay. Moses pleads with God to spare his people, rejecting the opportunity to have an entirely new line spring from Moses himself. God's pretty quick to cave here, which suggests (as the commentator's notes suggest) that forgiveness was actually part of God's plan, even then. When Moses goes down to his people, however, he goes crazy with anger when he sees it for himself. He destroys the golden calf (made from jewelry melted down from the Egyptians, I think) and then grinds it into a powder and makes his people drink it. They must eat their words, as the commentator notes.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Yes, the weather deteriorated from there. Throughout the journey, the sky was overcast and the seas were a bit choppy at times. On the roughest day, some adventuresome souls ventured out on the sun deck and discovered that a doorway toward the front of the ship created a lovely wind tunnel. My niece kept circling around to run through the doorway with the wind at her back, thus becoming a champion sprinter for the nonce:
It was great to see everyone. While most of the grownups and Felix seemed just as I remembered them, I had a great deal of trouble reconciling the Deirdre and Ethan I remembered from two years ago with the Deirdre and Ethan I encountered on this trip. They were probably 10 and 3 the last time I saw them - a little girl and a baby - and are now very clearly a young lady and a boy. It took all my self-control to suppress the urge to say "My, how you've grown!" But they have grown, and it becomes them well.