Since the beginning of this week, we've been enjoying what we call the days of Alcyone in my part of the world. They usually begin in mid January and last for about a fortnight. In mid winter and despite the fact that our winters are mild, it is a period of calm weather, sunny days and blue skies. As I don't like winter very much, soon after the new year, I look forward to Halcyon Days.
According to Greek mythology, Alcyone - the daughter of Aeolus, the greek god of winds - was happily married to Ceyx, the son of Eosphorus - also known as the Morning Star. The happy young couple would often call each other Zeus and Hera - something which gave rise to Zeus' wrath.. So, while Ceyx was at sea, Zeus threw a thunderbolt at his ship. Soon after, Morpheus - the god of sleep and dreams - disguised as Ceyx, appeared to Alcyone and told her what had happened. Alcyone was so desperate that she threw herself into the sea. But out of compassion, the gods turned her into a halcyon bird (a kingfisher). Halcyon birds lay their eggs on the beach, in winter, so her father Aeolus restrained the winds and calmed the waves so that Halcyon could lay her eggs in safety.
Apart from enjoying our bright weather, I am also going through a very peaceful period of time in my life. Despite my busy schedule at work, I feel calm and relaxed and hope, in my heart of hearts, that the gods will be more merciful this year and will prolong this bright, sunny interval in the height of winter.