HAILSTONES AND ITS VARIED CONNOTATIONS

Blissfully unaware of my surroundings, I transformed my thoughts into words by typing those on to a word document; my fingers moved deftly across the keyboard demonstrating to the machine who the real master was. The less noisy keyboard of my Surface Laptop 2 suddenly sounded louder than usual, forcing me to look up. As if sensing my movement, my only offspring chattered excitedly about hailstones caused by the heavy downpour. Reluctantly, I pushed the chair back and joined my son at the sliding glass door that opened to the balcony. Through the glass door, I watched the hailstones fall on the balcony floor only to disappear in a few seconds. I looked beyond the balcony railings and gasped in delight when I noticed the hailstones-studded ground that resembled a star-studded sky. I dared to look further and noticed that the trail on the other side of the property’s fence was also scattered with hailstones, which vanished as I continued to watch in fascination.  

I returned to my chair at the dining table, which I regarded as my throne, and resumed the temporarily halted composition. Later, intrigued by the coinage “hailstones”, I researched about its etymology. I came across a few interesting facts that I thought was worth sharing with other bloggers or readers.

According to etymology online, the word hail means salutation in greeting which is a derivative from old Norse “heil” meaning “health, prosperity, good luck”. We know the scientific meaning of hail which is “frozen rain, pellets of ice falling in showers,” however, in old English in c.1300, there is a reference to “hail” as “liquor in which healths were drunk” like the ale used during Christmas celebrations. Dream glossary has attached various meanings to hail dreams, which serve as forewarning about losses of some kind or the other such as lack of reciprocation in love, financial losses in business, lucrative offers leading to disappointments, etc. It is interesting to learn that if an individual dreams about hail that is falling, then he or she could face negative consequences depending on the emotions experienced at the time like pain, fear, or anxiety. Many have explained hail dreams to be signs of financial gains, especially if the dreamer woke up with positive feelings. The size of the hailstones also determined the nature of the dream besides the location of its fall (roof or settled on the ground).

Bible, on the other hand, interpreted hail as a divine intervention, a prophesied event, or a miraculous occurrence etc., as the hailstones fell only on the Amorites and not on the Israelites. Hail also has the spiritual meaning of a curse for it fell like stones and destroyed both men and beasts who were evil as opposed to the good. Did you know that ‘Hailstone’ was a surname that was first found in a market town or Oswestry in Shorpshire at Halston in 1379? Other variations such as Halston, Halsteyn, Halestone, Hailston, Helistones etc. were used in different parts of England, New Zealand, and Australia. During my journey of exploration, I even discovered a family crest that bears the name “Hailstone” on the website with the domain name Houseofnames.com. It is true that journeys always lead to something new!

Houseofnames.com

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