Eos & Tithonus

It has been almost two months since we moved to the Pelio peninsula, and already my first impressions are fading. Life here is starting to feel normal—the gentle ocean breeze, the smell of ripe figs, the velvet water of the Pagasetic Gulf. This morning on my walk with Lada, I noticed the calmness that surrounded me—the light rustle of olive tree leaves, the gently flapping sail of a boat in the distance, even the intense Greek sun has mellowed. It isn’t just my exterior world that feels calm, but also my internal. There is no angst as September approaches, no rush to get ready for classes, no endless meetings, no hurry to go to the dentist, or take the car in for an oil change—because once school started there just wasn’t time.

I have asked a couple different Greeks, “what time, or when,” and have heard the same reply, “later.” At first I was a bit shocked, and responded with a smirk, that implied, “really, you’re kidding me, right?” But they weren’t kidding, and truthfully later has not come yet, but that’s ok, because truthfully most things can wait.

Although the first impressions are fading, I will always remember, and more importantly be reminded of our first month here, when I hear the sound of cicadas. Their ruckus wasn’t a quiet murmur in the distance, but instead a full-out roar. I kept on looking out the windows expecting to see a commercial grade sprinkler, like the ones watering hay on the Western Slope, chu, chu, chu, chu, chuing away. Every time I was on the phone with someone they would immediately ask, “What is that noise?” and “I can hardly hear you!” These Greek cicadas mean business. They sounded angry, and after reading the myth that explains their “song,” I better understand their anger and insistence. The cicada is associated with Greek Mythology, specifically the legend of Tithonus.

Tithonus was a beautiful mortal who had been granted eternal life by the gods, after the request of Eos (goddess of the dawn), who fell in love with him.

Unfortunately, Eos forgot to ask from the gods to grant Tithonus eternal youth.

So when Tithonus grew old and withered, while Eos - as a goddess- remained young, Tithonus was begging for death to overcome him. Eos could no longer see him and transformed him into a loud, chirping insect that speaks incessantly - the cicada.