September 24, 2020


Rains returned to the Pacific Northwest this week, dissipating the last of the smoke. Harbinger of autumn and the dark days to come. The sun will return for a while next week, but the weather this week is a reminder to prepare for the long haul.

The Danish and Norwegians have the concept of “Hygge”, which is all about coziness and comfort, while enjoying the company of others, during the long dark days of winter. “Hygge” can be wonderful, curling up under your favorite blanket with a cup of tea and a book in front of a fire, or spending time with friends with hot drinks and just hanging out. This year, I worry that the conviviality portion of Hygge will be more challenging during COVID, due to the safety issues of being indoors with others.

That is why I was excited to read about another Norwegian concept called “Friluftsliv” which is the Nordic concept of getting outdoors, despite the dark and the cold. I think it will be a lifesaver for me. I discovered over the years that if I have the right gear- breathable rain jacket and pants, hat, gloves, long underwear, and comfortable rain boots, I can be outdoors for hours, loving it. Plus it is so much safer to visit with others outdoors. National Geographic has a story about a father and his daughter exploring the outdoors together. I believe Friluftsliv can help us survive the coming COVID19 influenced winter. I am looking forward to winter more now.

Planning for winter and how to thrive during it is a good idea. The Atlantic has a good article about surviving the winter of coronavirus which includes planning for a surge and spending as much time outdoors as possible. Some dear friends are creating a covered but open outdoor room with chairs and a heater in their carport with a big roof. This can be a safe space to play tunes together. We should all look for ways to thrive and not just survive.

Another concept is to create your own pandemic pod with a family or a small group of friends. You can all commit to strict safety rules to keep everyone safe and follow some basic guidelines. This can help us all keep our sanity, especially families with young children or for some of my friends who just want to play tunes knee to knee again.

And of course, Pandemic Etiquette Rules are now a thing.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and try more Friluftsliv

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.