When words, photos, songs inspire fiction.
Hygge (Danish): Taking pleasure from the gentle or soothing things
Song: We Move Lightly – Dustin O’Halloran
I wake up not with a start but slowly, like my eyelids are savoring each second before bringing daybreak into view. I am warm but not too hot, I can tell that my hair is more disheveled than usual, doing the frizzy split-end thing I hate, but I don’t really care. The scent of the fireplace downstairs meets my nose before my ears can pick up the crackle, and the goosebumps that greet the skin on my arms pushes some of the grogginess aside. Smell has always been my foremost nostalgic vice, my fondest memories and most sought-after day dreams coming immediately after certain scents hit my nostrils.This morning smells like smoke and coffee. I look to my right and catch a glimpse of a few candles from last night, melted down and sloped from such a lengthy burn, and thoughts of the evening start to filter in. A sleepy grin paints itself across my face when I hear him shuffling around downstairs. This old cabin does nothing for soundproofing, it creaks and groans with every step or strong breeze from outside. I don’t mind this at all though, I like listening to him mill about in the morning. He’s not always a morning person but when we’re out here he seems to love getting an early start. For no particular reason, I think, other than to just take in the quiet.
I am still wrapped up in the covers and when I roll over to face the big bedroom window, I am greeted with the sight of snow falling with so much fervour that the trees appear as wrapped up as I. I am grateful to him for opening the blinds before I awakened because looking out of the glass this morning feels almost ethereal. I snuggle in even more knowing that I am completely protected in this little house, the perfectly languid energy flows inside and out of these walls.
Gluggaveour (Icelandic): Weather best enjoyed through a window
Song: Promise – Ben Howard
I swing my legs off the bed and pull on some pyjama shorts and my softest hoodie. He always pokes fun at me for wearing shorts around the house in the dead of winter but I like to think it creates the perfect opportunity to wrap my legs up in the softest blanket on the couch without getting too hot. I can hear the jingle of the dog’s collar downstairs and assume there’s already more than a few paw prints in the fresh snowfall outside. As I tip-toe down the staircase, I try to avoid the creaky spots so I can sneak up on him from behind. He’s wearing jeans and the cozy long-sleeve I always steal from his closet – I can tell he’s already changed out of his first outfit of the day, likely wet from the thick falling snow outside. I swiftly wrap my arms around his back, clasp my hands across his chest and bury my nose into his shoulder blades. He’s startled at first, his whole body jumps a little, but quickly relaxes into my arms. He sets his cup of coffee on the counter and runs his hands along mine. I can feel the immediate warmth in his palms from the mug but his fingers are still cold from the outside. I take a big breath in, savouring every bit of his smell in that moment. He turns around, brushes some stray strands of bedhead out of my eyes and leans down for a long, slow kiss. I can tell he hasn’t taken a sip of his coffee yet because he still tastes like peppermint, my favourite flavour. He hands me a mug, earl grey tea with a bit of almond milk (he knows tea makes me feel cozier in the mornings), and I saunter towards the living room. The dog is curled up beside the fireplace and lifts his head when I reached down to give him some good morning head scratches. My eyes are still glued to the window, it’s somehow snowing harder now than it was when I woke up only a few minutes ago. I walk a little closer, bring my mug to my lips for a sip and watch as the glass pane steams up almost instantaneously upon my exhale. My mind intrinsically wanders to the mountain adventure possibilities this snowfall will bring, but keeps me still just watching. Today it seems, is a day best spent inside.
Chrysalism: The amniotic tranquility of being inside during a storm
Song: Master and a Hound – Gregory Alan Isakov
I feel his chin softly rest on the top of my head from behind. I’m not sure how long I’ve been standing there for, eyes jumping from snowflake to snowflake, watching as they weave themselves into the fabric of white settled over every surface. He muses that I must be staring into space but I tell him I’m looking, observing the patterns that take shape outside these walls and simply processing the spectacle of it all. He gets it. He understands the type of child-like wonderment I get from the marvels of nature, because he feels it too. I’ve always been able to tell just by looking in his eyes. He follows me to the couch and I laymy feet in his lap and finish the last few sips of my tea. I begin to drift back to all the moments that have led me to this point here. So many late-night conversations about our shared fantasy to one day spend winters out in the trees, my insistence on building a shed outside for all our outdoor gear and his inevitable acceptance that it would be worth the effort, our monthly weekend trips to the mountains that allowed us to fall in love with waking up to a foot of fresh snow. I spent so much time as a young woman day dreaming about mornings like these, I let the utter comfort of this moment completely envelop me. I have been relatively pain free for almost three years now, cherishing each minute that goes by without it. With the dog by our sides, my feet in his lap, and memories of the night before playing on loop behind my eyes I let out a deep sigh. Today I will let the snow fall around us and crystalize the windows. I will let the logs smolder and the keep the kettle hot. Because for once, I know that this is exactly where I should be. I am happy, free.