“To stand at our window, wrapped in the half-dark and watch the day disappear… is a moment of hygge.”
Louisa Thomsen Brits.
A few years ago, I came across a copy of Louisa Thomsen Brits’ “The Book of Hygge: the Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort and Connection”. This is a beautiful little book, filled with simple, life-affirming wisdom. At its heart is the experience of winter – or rather, the experience of togetherness, of connectedness, and of focusing on the here and now, that the long cold nights of a Scandinavian winter forces on the Danes.
Winter is naturally a season for slowing down. As the growth of plants slows, so the pace of nature slows. As humans, especially post-industrial (and now post-internet) humans, we can miss that. For us, technology means we can ignore the rhythms of the seasons – we can work when it is dark, we can “be productive” even when the weather is inclement.
And yet, what the Danes have realised, and embraced as a nation-defining philosophy – is that we are poorer, less healthy, if we do not embrace those rhythms. This is why we mark the seasons with our festivals, and we are thrilled to be marking this season with our Winter Festival in Bangalow. Students and staff have been busy preparing for this special night, making lanterns and learning winter songs, and we are all looking forward to this event.
Another Steiner School (Blue Mountains) also sees Winter Festivals as a time for reflection. They write:
“At its core [Winter] festival is a celebration of light. Many people are familiar with physical light representing the light of consciousness or the light of love in the world. Here, we offer everyone the chance to enter into a reflective space, bathed in beautiful sounds and sights, to focus at this time of relative darkness in outer nature on our own inner light.”
You will have heard, and will see in this newsletter, that this year we are offering our whole community an opportunity to reflect. Through our Strategic Survey we are asking you to reflect and let us know what you value about the school, and what you want to see grow in the future of the school – and I encourage all of our community to fill in the survey.
And, as we head towards our winter festival and the holidays, I also encourage all of us to slow down a little, and see winter as our time to pay “attention to the concerns of the human spirit,” and turn “towards a manner of living that prioritises simple pleasure, friendship and connection above consumption” (Brits).
I wish everyone in our community a wonderful, joy-filled season.