Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Halcyon Days

By Mary Oleksowicz, M. S.T. O. M., L.Ac.

      Halcyon days is a term that usually indicates a time of nostalgia and serenity. While liberally used during the course of the  year , reviewing the origin of the word, we can see that the term is most accurately used during the winter holiday season. The roots of the term are found within a lesser known Greek myth.

     The lovely Alcyone was the daughter of Aeolus, the Greek god of the wind. When her husband, Ceyx died in a shipwreck, Alcyone threw herself into the sea in devastation.Seeing Alcyone’s devotion,  the gods transformed them both into halcyon birds also known as kingfishers.When Alcyone made her nest on the beach, waves threatened to destroy it. Aeolus restrained his winds and made the waves calm during seven days before and  after the winter solstice  each year, so Alcyone could lay her eggs. These days became known as the "halcyon days",  a time of year when storms never occur.

      During the course of the recent post Christmas blizzard that doused nearly two feet of snow  on my home, I laughed at this traditional thought of a storm less seven day period post-winter solstice.Obviously, Mother Nature missed a memo or ole’  Aeolus was miffed at his daughter.

     The year preceding the holidays always has it’s share of storms to be weathered, from sick children to impending deadlines, there is always something on the horizon. I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day as my “down time”. We obviously can not control the weather ,  the blizzard proved this. However, I did want to find a way to create a sedate and even nostalgic home environment amidst the holiday chaos. The children and I have spent time with the grandparents sharing stories of time past as well as creating new memories. Last night, even the older children squished in the master bed in order to watch a family classic in our “jamas” right before going to sleep.

      Developing personal “Halcyon” time has been a bit of a challenge. However, I have found time to enjoy a leisurely morning, drinking  tea while watching woodpeckers from my kitchen window. Later this week , I will read a few chapters from my new book while preparing a New Year’s feast. While not extravagant , the joy of being able to be home in a house filled with people and giggles truly is serenity.

     I wish you all respite from the storms, warm memories and personal serenity in these remaining halcyon days.

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