A Day In The Life

HalcyonHave you ever been enthralled with a word?…
September 26, 2006, 3:03 am
Filed under: Nature, Odds and Ends


Have you ever been enthralled with a word? For some reason, I find myself captivated by the word halcyon. I had often read about “the halcyon days of summer” and “the halcyon years”. I guessed that halcyon meant “golden” or something akin to “the good old days”. Finally, I looked the word up.

Halcyon: 1. A fabled bird, identified with the kingfisher, that was supposed to have had the power to calm the wind and the waves during the winter solstice while it nested on the sea. 2. Poetic. A kingfisher. —adj. 1. Calm and peaceful; tranquil. 2. Prosperous; golden.

Halcyon days: 1. Days of fine weather occurring near the winter solstice, especially the seven days before and the seven days after, attributed by legend to the magical powers of the halcyon. 2. A period of peace and tranquility.

I walk pretty much every day down the country road I live on. My wanderings take me by a large pond and across a river. I see these incredible birds quite frequently. Often, I hear their raucous call before actually seeing them. I’ve watched them dive head first into the water and emerge with a fish in their beak.

I’ve seen a pair of kingfishers sitting on a tree limb overhanging the river. I’ve seen four kingfishers engaging in what appeared to be a game of aerial chase. Upon researching the bird, I discovered that the pairs are very territorial so what I actually witnessed was probably one pair chasing another pair out of their territory. I’ve always liked the fact that the kingfisher is one of the few bird species in which the female is generally more brightly colored than the male. I like kingfishers. I have a little resin female kingfisher sitting on a shelf near my computer.

And the point of all this…..well, it seems fitting that a word I am captivated with is related to a bird I am equally captivated by. And, in reference to Julie’s Quote of the Day, I have added another pebble to my little island of knowledge in the great sea of life.


9 Comments so far
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Hmmm I always thought that Halcyon days meant golden or productive, like you. I think a lot of others do too, I’ve seen it used in that context regularly.

A bit of trivia, Kookaburras are actually kingfishers, in fact they look a lot like the second picture.

Comment by willowtree

Halcyon – that word was on one of those “Blogthings” quizzes. It was a quiz of your knowledge of English grammer, punctuation and vocabulary. I don’t hear that word often, now I’ve heard it twice this week!

Comment by Susan in va

Well, they (whoever they are) say to learn something new everyday.
For me, that’s not too difficult.
Thanks for the new knowledge.
How do you pronounce it?

Comment by Swampwitch

I tried to post a forum picture but it didn’t work.

Well… anyway, on my sunday afternoon walk I encountered a belted kingfisher and took some picture of it. I wondered if he was anywhere near enough to eat the fish out of my pond.
Of the original 18 we put in there… 3 remain

Halcyon is a new word for me.
I thought it was a chemistry/gas…

Comment by Pamela

Halcyon – I’ve heard the word before but didn’t pay too much attention to it. Now I will have to use it in a sentence in “real life” so I can remember it! (i’ll have to look it up for pronunciation)

I didn’t know kookaburras were kingfishers. WOW! – I’ve learned 2 things here today.

Comment by Karmyn R

Well, I can say ditto to the first part of WT’s comment. I thought that too.

Lovely photos by the way.

Thanks for the new knowledge! 🙂

Comment by Julie

I realized as I was reading your post that I had always mis-read that word…transposed the c/y so I was reading it as halycon! hmmm…
lovely post and lovely pictures!

Comment by C.

I thought of you the other night. Jer and I watched “A Time To Kill” with Matthew McCounaghy (sp?). Boy, is he a cutie. You’ve seen that movie, right? It’s old, but doesn’t matter if he is in it! Ha ha!

Comment by Suzy_q

I have never used that word in speaking or writing…but now I’m wanting to do both (lol). Nice when blogging broadens your horizons :).

Comment by Robin

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