The Small Pleasures of Coziness
As the days get shorter, I feel the irresistible draw to everything cozy. Last year, book lists were dominated by anything about the Danish practice of hygge. Since I speak no Danish and have never lived in Denmark, I can, of course, speak with great authority on the topic because I read Helen Russell’s The Year of Living Danishly. The take away, for those of you who haven’t read the book, is that because the Danes face long, dark and cold winters, they buy more candles than any other nationality on earth and they have raised the art of coziness to a high art form. As I write this in my little attic writing room in upstate New York, I am staring at trees that have mostly shed their leaves. It’s raining hard enough for me to hear the constant drumbeat of raindrops on the roof. The leaves on the ground are soggy. Drops of water cling to the window panes. In short, this is perfect weather to snuggle in soft, warm clothes and drink something warm. I’m already thinking of baking cookies this afternoon. I have never lived any place without seasons. I was born in Scotland, then moved to northern Utah. My family moved to France, just across the border from Geneva, then to Germany, just across the border from Luxembourg. then it was back to Utah. I went to college in Boston, spent a year studying in Leningrad/St. Petersburg and then headed to graduate and law school in Philadelphia. Almost twenty years ago, my husband and I settled in New York City. Of course, I see the appeal of constant sunshine. My brother and his family recently moved from Brooklyn to L.A. On one of our almost-daily calls he teased me about how that morning there were these strange white and gray masses in the sky, some of them even obscured the sun for a moment. I can’t quite imagine what it would be like to live somewhere with perpetual warm sunshine. I love to be outdoors, and I love the sun. I think it must be nice where it’s always sunny. I especially think that on those brutally cold March days in New York City when the snow has melted and refrozen into dirty, icy, gray hills on every street corner. At some point, inevitably, a car will drive into a puddle of slushy black water leaving you wet, shivering and drenched in who-knows-what. Charming, no? That does not happen to anyone in L.A. Not ever. But, in the spirit of believing there’s bright side to everything, do cookies baking in the oven smell as wonderful when it’s sunny and warm outside as they do when it’s sleeting and cold? Please let me know. Remember, I’ve never lived in a land of eternally good weather. I’m extremely curious what it’s like. In the meantime, I’ll have a warm chocolate chip cookie .