Happy New Year to all, even if these wishes are extended a few days into 2021 they come from the heart. Life slowed right down on Saturday while we watched the snow fall softly and drift across open spaces from morning till night. The world slowed right down. During my walk exploring this mono-chromatic world of swirling snowflakes the peaceful quiet was only interrupted by the distant foghorn. I had witnessed the sound of the foghorn before but I was always able to see the lighthouse clearly in the distance.
This time the lighthouse was shrouded in grey and if I didn’t know it was there I would have missed it. I became keenly aware that my decision to bundle up and walk for exercise was also good for the senses. I already love to explore the beach on a rainy day, now I was able to add “snowy day beach walk” to my favourite things to do. But, the world wasn’t all an enormous gray scale. I had fun exploring the storage yard by the pier complete with lobster traps, a boat and buoys…
…and as I walked toward the beach there was that red truck! I made my way across the parking lot concentrating hard so that I would not suddenly twist an ankle in one of the many the snow covered potholes.
The tide was high preventing me from exploring the beach and feed my rock and sea glass collecting habit. Instead I stood and listened and discovered new textures and patterns that presented themselves with the snow covered rocks. A very peaceful feeling came over me and I could have spent the rest of the afternoon just listening to the waves crashing against the shore.
I was reminded of other moments where I was completely at peace. I was searching for a word to describe it. Years ago the word “hygge” entered our vocabulary. At the time I borrowed “The Little Book of Hygge” from a friend. I read it and never quite forgot about it. However, I didn’t consciously embrace the concept, instead I focused on productivity and life in general. I am not sure why “hygge” came to mind on that snowy Saturday, at the beach during a snow storm. When I returned home I downloaded the e-book version and soon I was immersed in re-reading the book. It’s an easy read and I am making “hygge” my word for 2021. What does it really mean?
Well, it’s a word from the Danish language. Defining “hygge” is tricky. It has been described as ‘cosiness of the soul’, ‘the absence of annoyance’, ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things’ and ‘cocoa by candlelight’. Do you get an idea what it could mean to you? My first read of the book some time ago made me quietly say “that was a nice read.” I set the book aside, returned it to its owner and kept on living life. I didn’t realize that tiny “hygge” seeds had seeped in through the cracks of my sub-conscience and were beginning to grow roots. On that second day of a new year, standing alone at the snowy beach I realized that “hygge” was actively influencing my daily life. My daily contemplative photography and haiku posts on my “Miksang and Haiku” site are part of my “hygge”. These little practices help me slow down, embrace the moment and go within. When one invites “hygge” into their life it begins to permeate everything… from the way we cook meals for friends and loved ones, to decorating rooms for comfort to the simple task of brewing a cup of tea or coffee. It begins with selecting the mug followed how we pour the hot liquid into the vessel to serving it to ourselves and others. Rituals become important again. We slow down and we become more mindful.
I am so grateful to have been reminded abut “hygge”. As you may recall, we are taking possession of our new home on Thursday. While the container is just about to be delivered we didn’t bring much furniture with us. I was getting overwhelmed and frustrated lately while perusing furniture websites to see which couch and chairs would be great for the new living room space. “Hygge” reminded me that I should not rush the process. I will start out by using what we brought (we won’t be sitting on the floor at least and we do have a bed). Once we unload our many boxes I will let the space guide me and most likely sell off or give away a few things that we could not let go of in September. It’s good to have had the this time away from our stuff…
Back to “hygge” and the book: Are you intrigued? I think 2020 brought a revival in making our homes a sanctuary. It is where we can be safe, many of us have had to set up a functional workspace and creating tasty meals for our family is cool again. Gone are the days where we searched through the junk drawer in the kitchen to find a take out menu because we didn’t feel like cooking. These days baking sourdough bread, proofing and baking soft, decadent cinnamon buns, fermenting veggies and making yoghurt are hip again. Many of us welcomed a new pet and had to rearrange the living space to give the new puppy a protected corner for his bed or move some furniture to accommodate the cat tree…
The last three months have been a fantastic break from the old life for us. We made due with fewer things, we kept life simple, we spent more time outside exploring our new province and we cuddled our puppies more. I do look forward to setting up house and the studio but I am not going to rush the process. Putting down roots takes time and I don’t want to run out of energy. There will be daily walks in all weather as that is the one activity that I have maintained despite moving cross-country. Yesterday’s walk with camera in hand was more of the same but without the foghorn:
Thanks for dropping by today and allowing me to share new experiences, my thoughts and ideas. We had our first Nova Scotia snowstorm and didn’t mind it too much… there is more snow in the forecast this week just to make the move interesting. Stay tuned for regular updates!
All the best for a healthy and happy 2021. We have put 2020 behind us and have learned so much about resilience! Time to put these experiences into practice in mastering the months to come. Best wishes to you!