Dec 21, 2009

WORD OF THE WEEK: Happy & Halcyon

Summary: December is often a stressful month that can be full of energy and enthusiasm at its best moments. No wonder we're often wishing each other peace around this time of year. This week's word, halcyon—which means peace (and also peace-bringer)—is my hope for peace to you.

The month of December is drawing to a close. People are busy celebrating and have been celebrating the year 2009 with great gusto: cooking, feasting, gift-giving, and celebrating with ceremony that entails numerous details. They're trading well-wishes in the form of cards and slogans, most of them containing the words, merry and happy and joyful.

Soon we will be setting goals for 2010 and looking toward our future. The emphasis is on enthusiasm in all of these scenarios.

But there's another word that permeates and inspires in December. That word is peace. "Peace be with you," we say to each other; we wish for "peace on earth" and hope in our hearts that there may be some peace of mind for us, personally.

Today's word is my own wish for you—both in your heart and in your household. Let me tell you a little story about it first:

Once upon a time, there was a little boat that set sail upon the sea from Greece. As it sailed on its merry way, it encountered a storm that tossed the boat to and fro, rocking it fiercely. Eventually, the thunderous wail and riotous tumult of the stormy skies and sea waves began to subside. A bird—a kingfisher, also known as a halcyon—flew down and landed on the boat's prow, watching over the waves as they slowly came to a calm. The little boat, though it was wood and could not feel, was happily buoyed again.

Halcyon (HAL - see - EN), this week's featured word, is both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it is a type of bird like a kingfisher that feeds from the ocean, frequently after a storm as fish return closer to the surface (where they feed on insects—there to scoop up water and eat smaller insects—that have hidden in tight clusters for the storm's duration). In the days of ancient civilization, Grecian seafarers did not fully grasp this life cycle, and instead believed the kingfisher, or halcyon, was a bird that brought peace to the sea with its watchful gaze.

As an adjective, the word halcyon simply means peaceful.

May the great bird of peace glide over your home this winter and bless you throughout this week.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009

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