Hygge (really)

20140129-DSC00353My New Year’s post started out talking about hygge – a Danish term for the cozy feeling of snuggling up with a warm drink, a loved one, wearing your warmest wool socks and peering into the fire or watching the snowstorm rage outside. You can learn more about hygge in this BBC article.


Only one brave reader dared to point out that I lost track and went off on a tangent. And I am ever so grateful that he did.

I have lived a whole lifetime with undiagnosed ADD, but that’s only because no one in my generation was diagnosed as a child – or if there were such a thing, I certainly never benefited from it. Indeed, my parents would think it preposterous. I was just an “over-imaginative”, “forgetful”, “jittery”, “ornery”, “daydreamer” who just wasn’t living up to my “potential”.

At first I was puzzled, when he claimed that he “was turned off when I started talking about ‘fear’ and couldn’t finish reading the post. I asked him why? And he let me know in no uncertain terms. This man is straight from the shoulder and right to the point.

The title was hygge but then I switched to talking about fear and fears switched the gears. The two near opposite topics just didn’t make sense. So, he quit reading, which is always the reader’s option.

Wow! He was right and even though I had read and reread the blog post before I put it up there for the world to read, I hadn’t caught that. Sometimes we are just too close to the forest.

I am indebted to his candid comments. Few bother to share why they quit following your blog. I guess I should hire him as an editor!

Today, seems like the kind of day to write about hygge … and to stay on topic all one needs to do is look out the window. Right now, there is a medium size dog walking his human wearing boots. The dog that is. The dog is wearing boots. So is the human, but that would be expected.

Our 80-year-old, next-door neighbour appears on the sidewalk with her tiny dog; she and Lola (the dog) are dressed in very warm coats with snug, high collars. The human doesn’t make it past our laneway. The cold and wind has glazed the pavement with black ice. The dog would carry on, but the woman has fallen in past and broken a hip. Twice cautious.

The wind is whipping around what little fine snow fell earlier and the sky is a very flat light grey. She turns back and trudges, head down, across our lawns which aren’t ever slippery. I nod in agreement at her. Where she is headed is far more inviting.goinginwardinvite_tree_sky

Best to stay inside. Warm beverage in hand. Art materials, books (e- and otherwise) waiting to take me to warmer climes or at least another place where I can imagine being bundled up and warm. Warm. We crave warmth all through January. For me, the coldest month of all.

Hygge is only comfort, though, taken in short doses. I think I’ll take the snow and snuggle up with a book under a warm afghan – and dream of spring’s arrival. I can consider the daydreaming as part of what is wonderful about winter. The other part is that it doesn’t last all the time. Winter does have its own beauty and charm.

I am married to a photographer who braves the elements so that I can see snow draped over boughs, or bathed in the soft glow of pink-gold light. I get out and hike in that snow when the sun shines and the wind calms. I come home to a warm house. I am blessed.