Manna for You, Manna for Me

I’ve asked a number of people, lately, about manna. I say “What do you think about manna?,” and I get a lot of interesting looks in return. My favorite look is the double-take, where the person’s eyes literally blink two or three times while their head turns sideways and then quickly back in a fast darting motion (probably they are looking for an escape from the lunatic facing them).

Then I say, “You know, manna. You know what manna is, don’t you?”

Now that they understand I am not going to take out a bible and thump it or alternately try to sell them a new diet pill, they answer me.

“Of course!,” they say, still somewhat reluctant to talk about things other than the weather or Bernie Madoff. “The stuff that falls from the sky.”

And that is it. That is manna.

But then there are the ways we must really think of manna when we must really think of manna (which apparently is not often at all).

ReaderX in commentary seemed to see it as a desired salvation of sorts by groups of people seeking a ‘fix’ – which is what I always thought of manna as – a clear thing, a good thing, simple and pure in appearance (though perhaps questionable in true effect when taken and applied as a life-tool).

But in further exploration it seems this might not be the case for everybody, when they (have to) think of manna.

Maybe manna seems like a simple salvation for those on the outside of things, looking in.
Maybe, in the story, it is really something else.

But these musings are in the philosophic realm, and the real deal here is to Eat.

Today I’ll continue my search for the right kind of flour. Tomorrow, I’m going to look further – to find another kind of manna to dine upon.


10 thoughts on “Manna for You, Manna for Me

  1. I look forward to you taking us to the inspiring source in the Bible. And to you giving us your current take on it. Not so much “what it means,” but rather what questions it raises, what reverberations it generates, and so on.

    I won’t ask which translation. I won’t ask whether translations help triangulate on original language meaning. I won’t ask for the untranslated thing itself, if such even remains in existence (and this quite apart from the “translation” that might take place between the fact and experience of manna, and the coining of a word for those). I won’t ask for what might be called the academic side of the thing . . ., but I will wonder about them because although dry and dusty, so un-manna-like in themselves, they are telescopes, microscopes, methods of seeing what isn’t ordinarily noticed because too tiny, too far away . . .

  2. I’m sure there are sources to go to for the academic side of things, and I’m sure they are interesting too, ReaderX. The only thing I know how to do is look at a pile of stones in front of me as if they were real stones in front of me, and to play with them and imagine things. Manna to me is a food and a metaphor. It also is an extremely interesting food to me – much more so than ‘regular’ food. I am sick and tired of ‘regular’ food. It bores me to tears. I’ve been a chef, I’ve written recipes by the thousands and cooked meals by the thousands also. I’ve been a mother cooking meals close to three times a day seven days a week for years on end, I’ve been a reader of food in many ways. Manna is meaty to me, much more meaty than ‘food as food’. I hope I can find some things about manna that will be interesting or entertaining to those who care to read about it! There are many ways to any story. 🙂

  3. If Painter X, who makes one of the stones in that manna-pile, looks out and sees and contemplates and paints in response to Thing Y, then is anything lost by looking at Painter X’s painting while seeing and contemplating Thing Y at the same time?

    That recovery of stone upon stone, stone generating stone, is the beautiful part of what is otherwise dry and dusty “academic.” It’s the recovery, in shards, in shadows, in the ground sand of stones, of other people, other eyes, other souls engaging the world. Giving them back a little bit of their reality, although all that’s left of them is the stuff that was them and is now, in fact, dust, and maybe even the dust we Swiffer off the book or the painting in order to pick it up for ourselves.

  4. Here’s what the web sometimes can do, in its half-assed way:

    But we don’t get the Greek and Latin sources, and we don’t get the 14th century first use in the way we often think of the term. Mining, the website doesn’t mine, it doesn’t take us down into the earth and trace the veins of mind and heart.

    I don’t know what the OED is like as a launching pad. Probably better. You know, like a sign that says, “Here’s a mine. Now wear this headlamp and watch your head,” and leaves the doing up to the intrepid delver into humanity.

    Interestingly, Wikipedia’s entry is not brief:

    And its discussion tab for that entry is quite alive!

  5. In response to your first post of these last two, nothing is lost if the intent of creation remains clear. The danger is in becoming besotted with the ideas of others to the point of either losing the original idea along with the naivete that attended it . . . or getting so caught up in studying that one never sits down to create . . . or shifting into something softer and more muted than the original due to the brain, rather than the heart and soul, working on the creation.

    This sounds high and mighty but it isn’t meant to. 🙂

    In response to the second post, thanks for the links. I’ll definitely check them out. The wiki link was posted in either my first or second post here – and yes, it is full of information. There is a sidebar started on the right side of the blog where links mentioned in the blog are posted, and I’m glad to be introduced to more opportunities to do so!

  6. Idle thought of an idle mind. Why MANna? Why not WOMANna?

    So I googled “feminist manna” and got only 8 hits! Now, I must confess, I was deeply relieved to find that the tidal BS hadn’t run up this creek.

  7. What restaurant is that conversation occurring in? Seemed to me, given my slim fund of impressions when I saw “My Dinner with Andre,” that it was somewhere on the West Side. It looks really nondescript, almost hotel-ish, in a nondescript but certainly upscale hotel.

    No manna in such a place. Any manna was metaphorical “food” or “nourishment,” in the form of the liveliness of their thoughts and conversation.

    That’s MFK Fisher-ist “manna” . . .

    Kinda hard to survive 40 years in the Sinai on just lovely conversation . . .

    You have big circles and big squares with this topic. Good luck! (I mean that without sarcasm.)

  8. Did you say ‘Swiffer’? I thought I heard you say ‘Swiffer’.

    But I really did not believe it.

  9. But pie in the sky can fall flat on one’s face.

    Karen (always, in each waking moment, terribly and fully, deadly seer eee oss.)

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