Xenia Two Ways

When I told Tesla I had decided to participate in an “A to Z Blogging Challenge,” his first comment was “good luck with X and Z.” Ironically, those were the two I already had planned, though not even I realized quite how appropriate my “X” would turn out to be.

X is for Xenia – two ways.

The Greek word “ξενία” (Xenia to the non-Greek speakers among us) means hospitality and generosity extended to visitors who are far from home. It encompasses responsibilities from hosts to guests, from guests to hosts, and the idea that a host should give a guest a parting gift to symbolize that the host has been honored by the guest’s visit.

It is what I feel toward each of you, not only during the blogging challenge but every day you stop by. I am truly glad for your company, virtual though it may be, and particularly grateful for the gifts you give me in the form of comments, email and just knowing you took time to click over and read. I’m working on a “parting gift” and actually have one in mind. It’s something I have looked for elsewhere on the ‘net and haven’t found, and something not that many people get the chance to see. (Beyond that, you’ll have to stop in next Monday – and those of you who have access to me personally shouldn’t even try to worm the answer out of me in advance. Not happening.)

The A to Z Blogging challenge has been a remarkable exhibition of Xenia – every participating blog I visited had the welcome mat out and the author’s best work on display. As a reader, I felt welcome and appreciated.

I hope I’ve done the same for all of you.

The second Xenia – and the one I originally intended when I signed up for A to Z – is this one:

The Xenia family of corals has many species, some of which “pulse” in response to current or light and others of which merely wave their stalks. Some aquarium hobbyists consider Xeniid corals easy to maintain, while others find them impossible to keep alive.

I fall into the latter category, though not for want of trying.

The “angry xenia” pictured above turned grey and died two days after the photo was taken (three weeks after introduction to the tank). I tried a variety of tank positions, lighting options and other variables, but nothing helped. It looked healthy after each move, and remained so for several days, only to slump over and grow angry again (usually overnight, after several days of seemingly normal behavior). I consulted experts. I did research. I tested my water over and over again, and only after the coral died completely did I decide to accept that I’m just not one of the people who keep happy Xenia. (All the other corals are fine, and growing, which adds to my conviction that something about my tank didn’t agree with the Xenia, and given my dislike for killing corals, it’s not an experiment I’m likely to repeat.)

Same Angry Xenia - different location

Ironically, the death of my coral permits me to offer a third “x” too. This is an “ex”-Xenia. It has ceased to be. It is not stunned, or sleeping, and (fortunately) I have not nailed it to its perch.

Extra points to those who recognize the reference. Those who don’t can click the link above and enjoy.

Show some Xenia of your own by hopping into the comments and saying hi – I’d love to hear from you.