Hygge - Cozy Attentiveness

It is sixty-one degrees in my bedroom this morning when I wake up - eighteen degrees outside. Despite the new heating system, a fire in the wood burning stove, a space heater, and all three kids piled around my room, it is cold. Cold but beautiful. 

The lake is partially frozen and the sun is shining. A small flock of ducks paddle around the frozen spots. My husband calls from work and says no pipes froze at The Homestead and the animals all look okay. We will need to go over and break the ice on their water again in an hour or so. There are still three glorious more days of winter break before school starts, and no one is making a move to take down the Christmas decorations.

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I am reminded of the Danish word hygge, which roughly translates into "cozy happiness." The New Yorker defines it as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” That's what we have this week, bundled up in front of the fire, during this pause between the rush of the holidays and the start of business as usual. It is a break we don't usually get in Mississippi because it doesn't normally get cold enough to force us indoors for long.

This luxurious pause between what was in the old year and what could be in the new one is as big a rest as my busy soul ever takes. My husband is not so lucky. He is grinding away in the basement of the hospital unaware of the mist rising on the lake outside, but maybe he'll get to come home before it gets dark and have hot chocolate with us. Maybe it is enough to know he makes this comfort possible for our family.

Next week we will start the work again. The work of getting kids to school, making sure they pass math and remember when play practice is. Next week we will get back on our normal, healthy diet, and throw out the leftover sweets from the holidays. Next week we will begin filling up the calendar with goals and meetings, soccer tournaments, and book deadlines.

But first, I'm going to try and squeeze every last moment out of this week. I'm going to show my kids the value of hygge and paying attention to nature as a spiritual act like Mary Oliver writes, "This is the first, wildest and wisest thing I know: that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attentiveness."

It takes the cold to notice the beauty of snuggling under a down comforter. We're raising a cup of hot chocolate to you this 2018.