We kicked off the Alpine Trails Book Club 2018 season with the coziest of all book club meetups. The day started with a snowshoe to Gold Creek Pond where we encountered a nice little blizzard. Big, heavy flakes covered our hoods and packs and blew sideways across the lake, obscuring the mountain views. Tree limbs glowed white against the dark of dense forest and the blue depths of the pond provided the only color besides our rainbow of puffy jackets and packs. We all smiled with glee, snowflakes on our noses and lashes as we kept moving to stay warm.
Our co-leader Laura was gracious enough to invite us to her family’s adorable A-frame cabin for lunch. We ended up arriving early so we munched on Scandinavian inspired snacks like cheese and smoked salmon, Pulla (a braided cardamom bread) and sipped hot tea. We made ourselves comfy and sat in front of the wood stove to discuss the book and hygge.
The best way I can think of to describe hygge is to tell you about one of my favorite memories growing up in Pennsylvania. I loved when it snowed and my sisters and I would sled all day and then make hot chocolate (the Swiss Miss kind that comes in a packet with the little itty bitty marshmallows) and buttered toast (with good old-fashioned white bread). We would turn the light on outside the sliding glass door, dip our toast in the cocoa, and watch the snow fall. I still crave hot chocolate and toast when it snows. That feeling of warmth, love, and safety is the essence of hygge.
Meik Wiking lays out his Hygge Manifesto in our January book selection, The Little Book of Hygge. These 10 pillars just so happen to align perfectly with the goals of our book club. Here they are, slightly altered into the Alpine Trails Book Club Manifesto:
Atmosphere: Surround yourself with beauty
Presence: Be here now
Pleasure: Enjoy a treat without guilt
Equality: Everyone has a voice
Gratitude: Take it all in
Harmony: It’s not a competition, we already like you
Comfort: Take a break to relax
Truce: No drama, no politics
Togetherness: Build relationships
Shelter: This is your place of security
We spent hours sitting in the warmth of the cabin chatting and getting to know each other. We ate some more; pumpkin soup, spicy cranberry meatballs, and chocolate cake before heading back out into the snow. It was a lovely day that encompassed all aspects of hygge, and the intentions of our book club. We started the day as mostly strangers and ended as friends.
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking