Two o’ clock is an unbearable time to be functioning in Southern Spain. We walk, or rather, trudge home each day. I fan myself, lifting my shirt away from my skin. My youngest son’s glasses fog over, and my oldest’s hair is slick with sweat. We’re testy—the backpacks are too heavy, my hand is too sticky, and we’re too thirsty to walk another step.
We enter our house, a stone-walled fortress, and we must eat. But to turn on the stove would be a crime, so we eat a piece of fruit, or a sandwich. We guzzle milk, gulping loudly.
And then, we rest. The boys go into their rooms and create cities of Legos, while I darken the lights in my bedroom, turn on the fan, and lay on my bed. Sometimes, I simply close my eyes, but on other days, I sleep. Drool-on-the-comforter sleep. Occasionally, one or the other will show me a Lego car, and I will mumble that it’s amazing before closing my eyes once more.
Siesta. You don’t understand it until you live here. It’s easy to scoff at the idea of lazy do-nothings sleeping the day away. I tell you, come here. Feel the heat. Watch the stores and fruit stands close their doors. See the families–children and both sets of parents—cease their work, and gather together.
An interlude. A prayer. A reminder that we work so we can live.
Return to the world around five or six, when the sun takes its own siesta, and the ocean breezes blow. Take a walk along the paseo, and see people working, talking, ready to engage once more. Rested. Cooler. Renewed.
Let the patterns of Spain become your own. Succumb to rest when it is hot, and step outside in the evening. Say hello to a new day, before it even ends.