Although all faculty and staff are under house arrest, and the students have scattered to places unknown, the university sees fit to remind me that tomorrow is Early Release Day. I can only suppose that it does this so that I will feel free to close my computer at noon, perhaps shift from my chair in the study to my chair in the living room. But I will be released tomorrow. And I will be released early, at that.
I’m not a Bob Dylan fan, but his words suit the occasion.
“I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released.”
Early Release Day was once known as Good Friday. There are people who quibble whether good here means holy or good here means God’s. That they do not know that holy means God’s tells us they should not jabber about such things.
I am a T. S. Eliot fan, and his words suit the occasion.
“The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.”
Any day now, any day now, I shall be released from this life of vacillation between lusty carnality and the feast of flesh and blood. A liberating light will release me (and also you) from ambivalence and inconstancy, and either carnality or the feast will vanish like a shadow at sunrise. And when the shadow vanishes, I (like you) will lay my tools down. For I (like you) work in the night and hammer in the dark.
I hammer every night in the week, until Friday, when I lay my hammer down. I hammer every week in my life, until that good Friday when I will throw my hammer away. That Good Friday will be my release day—perhaps even my Early Release Day.