I recently read an article about the Danish concept of “hygge,” a word with no exact English translation, but which means something like “coziness” or “togetherness.” The article focused on how this concept is used in Danish culture as a way to get through the dark, cold days of winter with high spirits.
Last Sunday, our house epitomized this hygge. Despite the foot of snow that had fallen the previous day and night, our friends braved the aftermath of the storm to gather at our little cabin in the woods, bringing food, beer, bikes, sleds, snowshoes, and cheerfulness.
Even several trucks getting stuck and then us spending considerable amounts of time digging them out didn’t dampen our spirits, and luckily the owners of said vehicles took it all in stride.
This little gathering was also the perfect opportunity for our friend Kim to give her husband, Squirrel, his birthday gift — his very own mountain bike. Squirrel rides with us most Wednesday nights and many Sundays, but this whole time, he’s been borrowing a bike for each ride. So Kim decided to be wife of the year and buy him his own, which Evan custom-built. With difficulty, we’d all been keeping this surprise a secret for months (though I almost spilled the beans a couple times), but his reaction was worth the wait.
With only an hour or so of daylight left, most of us hopped on bikes for a quick ride — a ride that ended up being even quicker than expected for some of us. There was about 8 inches of unpacked snow on the trails, and I could barely take a pedal stroke without spinning out or sliding all over the trail.
So after going a mile or so like that, me and the two other gals decided to bag the ride and head home. The rest of the group showed up a half hour or so later, their original plan thwarted by the deep snow and slippery conditions.
As darkness fell, we cooked an eclectic selection of food on the fire and played a rousing game of nails (aka stump or hammer stump) before people started heading out for the evening.
It was a Sunday full of hygge indeed.