Wednesday, January 08, 2014
The Big Chill and "Hygge"
Two pairs of socks on each day, sleeping in long underwear, day after day of keeping the wood stove going. Ice to be broken each morning for the critters. Wind chills of 0. Is this Texas ? Today its warmer but damp and still feels cold. I am on my second load of wood for the stove already. Bread dough rising by the hearth, coffee brewing in the pot and thankful for my warm flannel shirt that is over my thermal shirt. I love winter and to be honest this weather invigorates me like nothing else. The morning of our lowest temps I was up long before the sun, checking the thermometer every few minutes to see it fall lower and lower with that same kind of excitement you see in children on Christmas morning. I should be living in Vermont ! That New England blood that runs deep in my veins is there to stay. My oldest daughter Melissa was here for a couple days and we talked about the rather indescribable feeling that comes to you in winter in cold places, provided you have a good social circle and family around you. The Danish call it "hygge" and although Melissa and I decided we totally understand the meaning of this word, its not really translatable to the English language. It involves so much more than that cozy feeling of winter. We decided it includes the smell of the cold air, the way your cheeks feel when you come in the warm house after shovelling snow for two hours. Its the way it feels when your friends come over to play a game or just have some hot chocolate and talk and they are standing by the front door taking off all those winter items, like boots, hats, scarves, mittens and bulky jackets. Its the feeling of wool socks, its that strange excitement you feel preparing for the big blizzard coming. Its that sense of community you all feel in helping your neighbors and friends clear snow. Its sitting around the table eating a meal that is total comfort food. I miss that and try as I may to create it here in Texas with my family, its just not the same when it snows only 2 inches at most. I would move, if all my children would move with us ! I love sitting next to the wood stove, knitting and listening to Emery chopping wood outside by the window next to me. That sound of wood splitting in the cold air, the way there is a tiny echo after each hit of the axe. It makes me feel complete, content, cozy, and yes it makes me understand more deeply that hard to pronounce Danish word, hygge, that is something like emotional coziness and well being, .