Showing posts with label halcyon days. Show all posts
Showing posts with label halcyon days. Show all posts

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Adventures in Logophilia, Day 172:


to insert a day into a calendar, or to insert between or among already existing layers or elements.  Every four years we intercalate February 29, otherwise known as Leap Day.

Day 60
Matt Preston

I've always had this strange fantasy of mixing up the months which contain 30 days with the those containing 31 days.  It would be an easy mistake to make, wouldn't it?  I don't know much about our calendar and why certain months were given a certain number of days to total out to 365 or 366.  I imagine that if we had to insert another day into our calendar to, say, balance out dramatic changes in time, adding days to November, February, April, June and September would be an easy change.  There's a science fiction story brewing here.  I just know it.  Dibs!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Word-smithery: Halcyon Days (Jillian)

A word has been dancing in my head these last few days. Since the bizarre 85-90 degree heat of March has finally retreated (anything goes in the Midwest), we have returned to halcyon days: temperatures not quite at 70 during the day, cool nights, blue skies with a swirls and daubs of cirrus cloud here and there. The violas and pansies are growing. Birds (and the gibbons at the zoo just a few blocks away) are in chorus from the wee hours of the morning till sunset.

Halcyon? It is a simple adjective, really, meaning "calm and peaceful." A halcyon is also a bird out of Greek mythology, but probably refers to the kingfisher. According to Ye Olde Wiky-pedia, it is "said to breed in a floating nest at sea during the winter solstice, during which time it charms the wind and waves into calm." The myth tells of Alcyone and Ceyx who angered Zeus. Ceyx was killed at sea, and Alcyone threw herself into the sea in grief. Out of pity, Zeus turned them into halcyon birds.

I've also learned that "halcyon days" refers to a seven-day period in wintertime when storms do not occur. Apparently, this is when Alcyone (or the kingfisher) lays her eggs. Nevertheless... "halcyon" as a descriptor for a period of mild, calm weather in Spring... or Summer... or any season is appropriate. I think so, anyways.

I hope at least the halcyons of Spring stick around for a little bit longer before the heat returns and scorches all this lovely greeness.


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