December 19, 2007 in More Logbook

Halcyon days

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A door needed repairs. I don’t have adequate workspace at the lighthouse, so I took the door over to Dock’s. He has a nifty shop, which is heated by an old pot-belly stove. When I arrived, Dock was eating his breakfast. I joined him and Kate at the kitchen table to finish my coffee while they finished breakfast. Reading an article in a boater magazine, Kate stumbled on the phrase “halcyon days.” She asked if I knew what it meant. I had only the vaguest idea. “Like a golden age?” I guessed. Kate grabbed a dictionary. Meaning calm, peaceful days. In its etymology, halcyon is identified with the kingfisher. In ancient Greek myth, the bird builds its nest on the ocean’s surface with the power to charms the winds and waves to remain calm during nesting. Supposedly, this takes place around the winter solstice, the week before and after. Coincidentally, we are now truly experiencing halcyon days. After a gusty weekend, the wind calmed in recent days, in advance of the solstice on Saturday.

With new vocabulary for peace of mind, Dock and I went to work on the door. Rather, Dock worked on the door, and I offered an extra hand from time to time. Unhurried, we took breaks whenever we needed to wait for glue to dry. The sun went down before we finished. The night was soundless. Occasionally, the river ice shifted and crunched, which caused the dogs to jump up and bark as if it was a wild animal in the darkness.

Today, back at the lighthouse, I threw a drop-cloth over the kitchen table and turned it into a makeshift workbench for the purpose of painting the newly repaired door. Another languid day, paintbrush in hand and listening to the radio. While waiting for the paint to dry, I went outside for a look around. The river was again smooth as glass. It looked inviting. Blessed with tranquil waters, I ventured out in my kayak to drift with the ice on the tide. A light snow started to fall. I knew better than to look for kingfishers.

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