While I was making a series of small prints of parts of the garden at Roots and Shoots, it occurred to me that what I was drawing were safe places; refuges and shelters. Where wildlife can feel safe and protected from difficulty. Where life can flourish and feel relaxed, comfortable and confident in its natural habitat. I was looking at the solitary bee homes and wildflowers that are provided with a habitat where they can live and grow without being sprayed with “round-up” or some bug killing spray!
If you look up Sanctuary in the dictionary, it is described as a “state of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or difficulty”. It’s a cosy word, I suppose. I 'googled' the word and discovered heart-warming projects, mostly to do with welcoming refugees or vulnerable migrants, who are searching for warmth and comfort away from war-zones and boats on cold seas. I also discovered that part of the 3000BC year old site at Avebury is called the Sanctuary.
I found out about Hygge. A Danish word (pr. hue-guh). Last winter this word was all over the place. I don’t think it has disappeared yet either. It is:
1) the art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive 2)to create well-being, connection and warmth 3)a feeling of belonging, to the moment and each other 4)celebrating the everyday.
Whilst there is no one English word to describe Hygge, the words cosiness, charm, happiness, ‘contentness’, security, familiarity, comfort, reassurance, kinship, and simpleness seem to sum it up.
I suppose that in this uncertain world, we are striving for some sort of comfort and so these things come to the fore.