Posted by: gdevi | May 6, 2011

Favorite time of day

I love afternoons. Times of the day have definite cultural and developmental characteristics–mornings with beginnings, childhood, perhaps youth, evenings with middle age, general winding-down, nights with partners and physical pleasures, maybe misery if you miss the pleasures, sleep, or no sleep,  rest, or no rest, death. Afternoon is an odd time of the day mostly filling people with anticipating the end of the working day. (I know several people who simply sort of stop working around 2pm, because well, it is very close to 5pm!!! The Kerala University folks were like this; good luck to you if you try to find someone in the University building to help you with something past 2pm–they are either drinking innumerable cups of afternoon coffee or simply sort of winding down the day!! When Nic and I were in Spain for an university workshop, we found this to be true of Spain as well; in Madrid everything shut down at 2pm for afternoon siesta and then reopened at 4pm or something. It was actually sort of nice. ) Afternoons are developmentally equated with full adulthood. Remember the riddle the Sphinx asked Oedipus: what goes on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening? Answer: Man. Baby crawling on hands and feet (morning metaphor), adult walking on two feet (afternoon metaphor), and old age with walking stick (evening metaphor). I have always loved afternoons ever since I was a kid. It is very strange when I think about this now, I can distinctly recall the afternoons from my childhood in exact detail down to the color of the sunlight and the sounds the leaves make in the trees. I used to walk around our house, looking at everything–plants, cracks in the wall, the cat on the compound wall, the kitchen help taking the fish heads to the cat, walking amongst the drying clothes on the clothes-line with their wet starchy smell, the sun burning overhead above the trees. It was very relaxing just walking around singing songs to myself. I associate afternoons with great quietness; it is hard to find quietness. Now I am very lucky because I try to finish all my classes in the morning so that I can be free in the afternoon, just to find some quiet time for myself. I really don’t do much of anything. I love just being here with the dogs, cleaning the house, or putting things away, read, write or listen to music, take a nap,  have something nice and toasty for D. to eat when she gets back from school. Afternoons are the only quiet times I have; I am so thankful that there is a time of the day called afternoon, when everything slows down.  Today is such a beautiful afternoon, for instance. Warm and sunny, but without the blinding heat and light. The dogs are quietly asleep. The whole neighborhood is quiet. I graded straight for 5 hours then made a little lunch for myself. D and K will be home soon, and then I have to attend the University graduation; many of my students are graduating this semester.


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