We have already arrived at the Halcyon Days of 2017. These are the days that are tinged with the spirit of ancient Greek mythology.
These are not just the days for the Kingfisher birds to brood on the Aegean Sea, this period of time leads up to and includes the Winter Solstice.
It’s a shame that our culture moves into high gear at this time of year when Mother Nature is taking a pause. However, perhaps the Halcyon Days subconsciously influence the nostalgia we feel around the holiday season anyway.
Of course Halcyon Days are not always defined as strictly this stretch of time on the calendar. They are traditionally thought of as a golden age of sorts. We think of a nation’s past or our own past in sepia tones. Halcyon Days are very subjective days that do not have strict boundaries.. These Halcyon Days lead up to wistful literature and poetry.
by Walt Whitman
Not from successful love alone,
Nor wealth, nor honored middle age, nor vic-
tories of politics or war.
But as life wanes, and all the turbulent passions
As gorgeous, vapory, silent hues cover the even-
As softness, fulness, rest, suffuse the spirit and
frame like freshier, balmier air;
As the days take on a mellower light, and the
apple at last hangs really finished and in-
dolent ripe on the tree,
Then for the teeming quietest, happiest days of
The brooding and blissful halcyon days!
It is in this poem that Whitman seems to capture the true essence of Halcyon Days.
Is it a fact that our Halcyon Days happen in retirement? Perhaps it is true that we lapse into thoughts and visions of our own, personal idyllic times when we are no longer part of the workforce.
I can recline in the chair, close my eyes, and try to envision my own golden days. Were they the 1990s? In retrospect, it seems as if personal relationships, career, travel, and finances were at a comfortable, calm level. Certainly there were trying times, but memories of those days are very pleasant.
Just as I’ve almost narrowed the Halcyon Days to the 1990s, the mind says, “Wait! What about the 1970s?” The 70s were the time of young adulthood. Sure they were sometimes rough, but life was most vibrant, exciting, and deep. I was much less cautious, my attitudes were still radical. Certainly my 1970s were sometimes harsh and complicated, but the life energy was beginning to peak. There was certainty and steadiness then.
Whether we call those times our own calm before the storm, or our own, personal golden ages, I like how the words “Halcyon Days” look on the page and sound to the ear. Our Halcyon Days are our own mythologies.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this out-take from Ogden Nash’s “Pretty Halcyon Days”:
“How pleasant to look at the ocean,
Democratic and damp; indiscriminate;
It fills me with noble emotion
To think I am able to swim in it….”