In Greek mythos, Alcyone and Ceyx were a happily married couple who enraged the Gods by calling themselves “Hera” and “Zeus”. As punishment, the Gods killed Ceyx by destroying his ship and when Alcyone found out she was so distraught she threw herself into the sea. The Gods then felt pity for their fate and turned Alcyone and Ceyx into halcyon, or kingfisher, birds. Here’s where it gets completely delightful, the couple, as halcyons, built a floating nest in the water and this charmed the wind god so that he created a period of sweet calm that lasted until the hatching period was over. This legend lead to people using halcyon as both a noun for the name of that genus of kingfisher and as an adjective to describe a period of calm.
Halcyon is often used to describe idyllic past times or times that seem so much better than now thanks to the softening glow of nostalgia (that fuzzy liar). Halcyon is right up there with ataraxia, bucolic and irenic for lovely, peaceful words.
Summer days are often halcyon, especially when thought about and longed for in the late days of winter…
With winter beginning to fade (and overstay it’s welcome) I am longing for the halcyon days of summer and those warm afternoons filled with sun, and flowers, and soft breezes. How about you, what does halcyon make you think of?
Namaste ~ Ella
** If there’s a word you’d like to see added to the Word Nerd roster, please feel free to contact me or suggest it in the comments – I love feedback and recommendations!