Why?

The kingfisher plays with abandon on Halcyon Pond. He is not fishing, just joy-riding on the gusts, swooping and chattering. It reminds me of the happy accident that is this place.

“Halcyon” has always been a favorite word of mine. It is one of those words that is nearly impossible to explain, describing a state that you know but cannot express. We first saw this place when we were Washingtonians, temporarily in the area consulting. A small picture in a homes magazine lured us here, and then our histories took an unexpected turn. Without hesitation, we bought this home; two city dwellers drawn to a remote country home, drawn by unrecognized drives.

Shortly after we moved here, I named our home Halcyon Pond. I didn’t know then that this place would draw me close and hold me here. Having never lived anywhere else for more than three years, I never expected that 20 years later I would still be here. My neighbors are the frogs and toads, owls and kingfisher, turkeys, deer, and the occasional coyote or bobcat, though we don’t see them much any more. But of them all, the kingfisher is my favorite. With his raucous call and his overlarge head and beak, he represents the recklessness of the decision that brought us here.

One day during a conversation, a friend asked what “halcyon” meant. I was sitting near my dictionary and decided this time, rather than stumbling through inadequate explanations, I would look up the definition. And what I found startled me. The definition included the etymology of the word. I who pride myself on my knowledge of words and of Greek mythology found this. “Halcyon” is the genus of the kingfisher. It’s name derives from the Greek word for the bird who makes its home in the center of the raging North Sea, by creating a still place in the midst of the torrent and building its nest there. I was stunned by the confluence of ideas.

And Halcyon Pond has been true to its name. It is my place of contemplation and peace—the still spot in what at times has been a raging storm around me. My nest in the midst of the torrent.

I withdrew from the torrent in May of 2013, after the sale of the company which I had led as CEO during its wild ride. And now, when asked what I’m doing, it makes both me and my inquisitor uncomfortable when I answer “nothing”. “Nothing” has been comprised of contemplating, reorienting, learning who I am at my core, what I value and what, in this new phase of my life, I have to offer. This blog is my offering.

I have been fascinated since I was child by the paradoxes of life It is excruciating and exhilarating to sit at the pinnacle of a paradox and contemplate its disparate truths. The ever-shifting boundary between dark and light, between yin and yang, between life and death. The boundary that forms no division except in our imperfect understanding. It is at this infinitesimal point that the meaning of life resides. It is elusive, ephemeral, ineffable—all the complex, unknowable words that I love.

I am traveling two paths in exploring the paradox. Reflections on Halcyon Pond are contemplations on life. Beyond Halcyon Pond is where I will post travelogs that explore the paradoxes of human culture–differences that lead us into mortal battle, but which are underlain by identical dreams and desires.

I invite you to join me on this journey into the mystery…

My hope is that through it, you will join me in celebrating the paradox that is Life.

11 Comments

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  1. Hope your journey is full of adventure!

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  2. “I have been fascinated since I was child by the paradoxes of life”…beautiful, inspiring writing and photos. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting , like your story

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  4. The story of Halcyon and also the pond, and also the meaning of word… they all fascinated me. Thank you, and also Thank you for visiting my blog, that I have met with you and with your amazing voyage… Blessing and Happiness, Love, nia

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  5. I love this. And I love the way you write!

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  6. Hello, Nadia – I arrived here by way of Robert Okaji’s post referencing a query about what was wanted … here I find two separate major moves on your part and a sense that perhaps you are no longer posting? Or maybe a different blog? I love your writing and perspectives. Plus my curiosity is swirling – what geography hosts Halcyon Pond? What geographical beach now claims you? (Or have you moved yet again?) I sense we are kindred spirits escaped from intense careers, enjoying a very active “doing nothing” with feline companionship and ample nature influence.
    (I’m home in Austin, Texas but we travel extensively towing our Airstream to other geographies, nature settings.)

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    • Hi Jazz! I thought maybe “Jazz” was jasmine, uprooted and replanted in Austin as Jazz, but I realize now that it’s more likely a play on your last name, but whatever the origin story, what a great name to have!
      I don’t normally respond to questions about my personal state of affairs, but something about your questions compel me…
      Halcyon Pond was in the countryside in SC. It’s still there, but now without me. We now are on the Delaware Beaches. I very different place in so many ways. Which leads to your question about my not blogging. I have had almost complete writers’ block since we moved three years ago. Except for writing about writers’ block, which is deeply ironic, no? I realized only a few days ago that my problem is my color palette. My palette had forest hues and shadows. I need one filled with light and the colors of seawater.
      And yes, you’re exactly right. I have escaped from a quite intense career. I thought it would take much time to get used to not being in that career, but found it took days. I was delighted to discover that my mind belonged to me at last.
      So, a much longer answer than you might have looked for. Thank you for prodding me.

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