It may be autumn in the calendar but it is definitely not weather speaking. Two weeks ago from 60F weather to snow, to freezing temperatures. Literally, the past week has been between 20s and 10s. It is insane because we are just in the first part of November; not even December. I hope the Farmer's Almanac is wrong because it did predict a long and cold winter.
Now, I have to clarify something. I do not hate winter. I actually love it. It just feel it is too soon. The seasons are about the joy of letting them wrap you in their individual uniqueness and everything that is special about them. This fall I was only able to go on a fall walk through the woods only twice. That is a shame because it is my favorite season of the year... followed by winter.
People always ask me how can I, a girl from Puerto Rico, love winter so much. The answer is simple: I just do. I have ever since I was a little child celebrating Christmas in 80F weather. I remember asking my parents for a pair of red mittens for Christmas when I was like seven. And now that I live in Minnesota, while I complain about winter, I do secretly love it.
When winter arrives, I feel a kind of expectation akin to Lorelai Gilmore's "I smell snow" quote on Gilmore Girls. Winter, symbolizes new beginnings and with it comes a human need for coziness and warmth. This is when the magic of hygge happens. Because it has to happen on its own. You cannot force it. One may have a need for that hygge feeling, but when you force it feels fake, which totally defeats the purpose.
As I mentioned, I am an island girl from Puerto Rico who, after a career in the military, married the most amazing husband and moved to the middle of farm country in SE Minnesota. My husband's family is originally from Norway and in researching more about this culture and his own family, I once came across a little term called 'hygge'. The word has been made famous by the Danish but in truth, it originates from Norwegian to mean 'well-being'. But in the current context is refers to 'that feeling of coziness and comfort'.
The more I read about it, the more this term reminded me of the German concept of 'gemütlichkeit' which convey the idea of a feeling of warmth and good cheer. Of coziness, peace of mind, and well-being. During the time I was stationed in Germany, I came to love winter and that amazing feeling this word conveys. And now living in Minnesota where the winters are harsh and long, I have come to truly embrace these concepts. I have tried to explain this to people who ask me for a specific definition and the best I can say is "You Don't Spell It, You Feel It".
And so, as this autumnal winter starts wrapping the state of Minnesota let us prepare for the season ahead. In a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving and then the season of Christmas will start. I always make a point of reminding myself about what is truly important and let that be the warmth that feels my heart when the weather outside is frightful. Remember, let it fill you and you will feel it. May you be able to do the same.