In the northern hemisphere, we are in the middle of the coldest and darkest days of the year and you might be dreaming of (or even packing for) your next adventure to a tropical destination. Here at GreenSpot, we are completely in favor of that strategy. However, something remarkable happened to me during the years I lived in Scandinavia.
I began to appreciate winter.
Not because I am a skier or because I enjoy the childish construction of a man made of snow (although both are true), but I learned to recognize winter as a season with its own worth. This appreciation is part of Scandinavian culture and as a native weather-complainer, I found it fascinating.
A mother once explained to me that Scandinavian children are taught the value of all the seasons. I soon realized that rainy-day recess at school did not exist. “There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing” is a popular saying in Nordic lands. Not only have I found this to be true (and have stocked up on wool and waterproofs accordingly), but it began to resonate with me as a beautiful way to encourage outdoor exploration during any time of year.
Apart from a wooly Icelandic sweater, another Nordic winter secret can be found indoors, complete with dim lighting, fleecy sheepskin, and more candlelight than any other region of the world. In Denmark, they have a word for this – hygge – described as a mental state, rather than physical. Whether it be tea, wine, soft blankets, a roaring fire or family and friends…cold is combated by warmth, in every sense of the word.
We can’t forget the spectacular northern lights! Best seen in the winter months when darkness reigns. The aurora borealus might be enough to get you packing your wooliest sweater and heading north into the cold, dark (and ever-so-cozy) Nordic regions. If not, perhaps this post will help you get through the rest of winter, or until your next trip to sunnier skies.