Yesterday was a work day, but working when much of the rest of the world has a holiday is not unfamiliar to me. Until we moved here in 1998, I always worked on Memorial Day, for example. I love the quiet that pervades the day: the quick zip to work with not much traffic, the calm at work that comes because some students and staff take the day off, even if it's not a holiday.
Let me record some reflections from yesterday:
--I made a quick trip to the grocery store, even though I know we're likely going to need to go to the grocery store again. At the checkout, a woman from the bank who was walking in greeted the checkout folks--it was clear that they knew each other, in the way that people who work in places know each other. The cashier said, "The resurrection will happen on Sunday," in response to the bank woman's complaint about a bank customer. That stuck with me all day. What a wonderful response to all sorts of complaints: the resurrection will happen soon!
--Work was not unpleasant--I got a binder of syllabi resorted and labeled all the tabs, a process which took much longer than you might think. I went to observe a new faculty member teach (she's from my old school, so it wasn't as full of surprises as it could be). There were moments of weariness, but that was more because I was up early to take my sister and nephew to the airport than because of the work.
--As I drove home, I was thinking about how I had spent much of the time alone on a very quiet hallway, working in the accreditation room. A phrase came to me "the quiet tomb of the classroom," which made me think about tombs and what keeps us entombed. I was thinking about snapping the thin skin between my thumb and forefinger as I closed a binder. That happened on Thursday--I was thinking about Good Friday, and suddenly a poem came to me: "Good Friday in Binderville" (Binderville has become my shorthand way of referring to all the work that must be done for an accreditation visit).
--My mom and dad are still here, so we had a bit of wine and cheese together, while my spouse finished up his day's tasks. We had both thought that the other one was taking hamburger out to thaw, but happily, I had picked up a package of hot dogs during my morning grocery trip. It was an odd Good Friday meal, but we really don't have any Good Friday meal traditions.
--We went to church early for choir practice. I brought books: my 3 volume in 1 collection of Henri Nouwen's journals and Gail Godwin's Father Melancholy's Daughter, which I've always thought makes great Holy Week reading. I felt a bit of sadness that I hadn't thought to reread Nouwen's Latin America journal during Lent. So that will be my post-"The Handmaid's Tale" reading--what juxtapositions will I see? At one point, the problems in Latin America seemed so insurmountable. I first read this journal in the early years of the post September 11 world, which colored my reading. What will I see in this reading?
--The Good Friday service doesn't move me the way I wish it would. We focus on the 7 last words, and our pastor invites people to offer meditations on the words. Thus, it is often much too much tied to personal, modern experience, which is valuable--but I'd rather focus on the experience on the cross.
--I hadn't thought I would sketch, but then I found I wanted to do it. I created this:
--For more on the Good Friday service and the creative process that led to my sketch, see this blog post.
--It was strange to be going about our Good Friday activities while various world leaders are making bombastic declarations about who has the biggest weapon and who is not afraid to use it. We finished our Good Friday by watching the rebroadcast of the News Hour on PBS--how comforting to be watching the commentators Shields and Brooks with my parents.
--Today may be a strange sort of Holy Saturday--we have lots of meat that must be grilled. My parents are in town, and I feel like we should be doing more. But it is delightful to sit by the pool. They are readers, and I'd be happy to have some time to read. But I don't want them to be bored. But I also don't want to battle holiday crowds. Perhaps we will just enjoy a quiet day at our beautiful paradise pair of cottages.