halcyon /ˈhalsɪən/

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definition: a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful

I first came across this word as part of the url of this author I admired (crazily), whose live-journal is now sadly defunct. You will probably not believe how much time I spent grieving over her decision to not only leave the live-journal community but basically delete her entire online writing presence without a trace. It was scarring, to say the least.

Still, my love for the word ‘halcyon’ has endured. Did you know, halcyon’s origin lies in greek? Alcyone was the counterpart to Ceyx, and they were very happily married. So happy were they that their tongues were loose and they often called themselves “Hera” and “Zeus” just for fun – I mean, what’s a little name-calling between married lovebirds, right..? Wrong. Zeus apparently found it sacrilegious and threw a thunderbolt at Ceyx’s ship, drowning him. Alcyone drowned herself in grief, but the gods made them kingfishers – halcyon birds, named after Alcyone herself.

The legend continues that Alcyone would lay her eggs (as a halcyon bird) on the beach and her father, Aeolus, god of winds, would restrain the winds so that she could lay her eggs safely. Needless to say, halcyon days then refer to a period of particular peace, especially in the midst of difficult times. Nostalgia is imbued into this meaning as well.

Personally, even without this research, the word halcyon itself invokes a sense of longing in me. Perhaps it was due to the strange usage of h, cy, and l and the fact that these three comparatively rare elements were combined and used in one beautiful word. I suppose the fact that it’s so infrequently used also adds to its appeal for me. As you can probably already tell, I’m pretty much infatuated with “halcyon” as a word. 😁