Marzipan

December 9, 2012

I ate a marzipan representation of a Torah scroll.  The marzipan (almond-paste candy) I bought is seasonal — symbols of Chanukah, and I suspect fits in with seasonal sweets of other religions this time of year.  (I grew up eating — very small amounts of — marzipan year-round; for that matter, latkes were not a seasonal food in my family tradition, either.)

Given the metaphor of divinity as sugar or candy in some Eastern religions (and the teaching of how we have to experience it ourselves to get it) and the place of the Torah in Judaism, I liked the idea of eating a candy Torah.  I don’t think I will probably ever experience the divine through adherence to orthodox Jewish teachings, but maybe this experience allows me to connect it to my own ways of understanding and accept that some people actually do.

It’s interesting, because I had a friend who was trying to do that, to recapture a Jewish upbringing she didn’t have as a child.  Through her brothers, I eventually was introduced to Tracy Grammer’s music, and it was before her concert last night that I bought the marzipan.  (There’s a gourmet food store I know carries it, around the corner from the club.)  To me, putting together these pieces of experience into a picture that helps me understand better is like finding bits of ribbon and scattered beads and including them in a collage.

One of the things I got from listening to Tracy Grammer sing David Carter songs last night was more acceptance of the variation of roles within similar patterns of life.  A strand within me has questioned why my version of a pattern can’t be more like someone else’s, and I’ve come to think that there are trade-offs — we can’t focus our energy on pursuit X if we’re using all our energy for pursuit Y, and there may be reasons why we’re better suited or positioned to focus on one pursuit or another.

I’ve lost a lot of the need of another strand within me, too, to try to explain my version of the pattern, or even to explain how I see patterns, period, how I see similarities in other people’s lives and can fit them into, if not an archetype, then a tradition or a lineage.  I used to think people would want me to explain, for instance, things like why Tracy Grammer is having trouble actually writing up a memoir of her time with Dave Carter, how it fits into what I know of an Ur-story, why she is instead telling the reminiscences between playing his songs in concert.  But I’ve come to see that that’s part of my stuff, the need to try to get other people to see what I see.  They don’t need to see it, just as I don’t need to (try to) learn to become a poised and accomplished musician, either.  And neither of us could do as well what the other one does.

I find myself stumbling into gratitude for differences and for other people having talents I don’t and having experiences I won’t have.  The world needs all of our variations.

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