Solstice Sunset

by Mary on December 25, 2015

sunset from my house

sunset from my house

Earlier this fall my Facebook feed was plastered with articles about hygge and koselig, Scandinavian concepts of coziness and good feeling that were supposed to be a useful mindset for getting through winter. It worked for a couple of days until our first windstorm, a multi-day affair with moaning wind, flickering power, and of course pelting rain.

It was the first of three windstorms (two states of emergency) and an abundance of rain we’ve had this fall. I’ve used my light box every morning that we’ve had power but sometimes the darkness has been a bit much. Part of the Scandinavian resilience to winter is supposed to lie in celebrating the unique aspects of the season. I do my best to savor the produce unique to fall: just-harvested delicata and kabocha squash, sweet carrots at the height of their season (yes, carrots have a season: fall),  fresh pomegranates, pears, and apples, the sage that I snip from my garden for Thanksgiving stuffing.

I savor my garden. Though this is its dullest time of year, I can see peachy orange spikes of schizostylis from the kitchen window, and they flame bright for months. My winter pansies didn’t last long, blasted by wind and cold, but silvery lamb-ears glisten with raindrops. Some of my garden energy moves to my houseplants, moved indoors in November before the first frost. Some of my regulars like cyclamen and Christmas cactus bloom now and are much appreciated. I added a few for season: an amaryllis that bloomed peachy red, a smoky burgundy poinsettia, a small poinsettia of the traditional blazing scarlet that I was handed at the end of a holiday party.

Hiking would be another way to appreciate the season, but aside from one short stroll on Cougar Mountain I haven’t been out. The only glimpses of nature I’ve had lately have been from my house or the road. Earlier this week there was a break in the clouds at sunset and the dark gray clouds shone peach and pearl. It lifted my spirits, I hope it will help yours too.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

George A. December 25, 2015 at 3:30 pm
mary December 25, 2015 at 7:48 pm

Love it! We can’t underestimate the contribution of the glögg to the coziness and good cheer! One of my sons makes glögg but it’s not nearly as exciting a recipe as yours. Our simply calls for adding sugar, no lighting on fire required. We are missing the caramelization (and I’d think a lot of the fun) that way. I showed my son your recipe and he laughed, he says he may try it sometime when he’s feeling ambitious and adventurous. He simmers down the spices in water for hours, then adds it to grape juice (he’s not much of a one for drink). Missing, of course, both the extractive and the other qualities of the alcohol in his version. It sure does make the house smell wonderful, though.


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