The world through the Icelandic looking glass

window weather
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So prone are humans to the ‘art’ of misconstruing that every once in a while we find ourselves baffled at worldly occurrences and happenings and events that reveal themselves in a different shade of light than what we had expected them to come bathed in. Think fellow people, several of whom we failed to gauge in their true colors or common circumstances the gravity of which we could not accurately decipher. Within such myriad ways of misunderstanding and misinterpreting and misjudging the flow of life continues as a pattern that nature will never do without, irrespective of whether we manage to discover or not our own determining of a synchronisation that possesses at least the potential of putting perhaps all our dilemmatic concerns to rest.

Perhaps one among such dilemmas that continue to keep the human race in confinement within their own universe of thought that swings between either end of the contrasts is the very general pursuit of something we forever seek comfort in. Coveted in the soulful, fulfilling and enriching exploits of it yet very oft delegated to the realms of something that is associated with the not always ideal idea of the convenient, the warmth of comfort is a charm of smug leanings attached though with certain strings of what might very well hamper the human spirit of resilience. And yet, it is within these confines of the comforting wherefrom emerge some of the most dreamy notions for humankind to seek succour in. Particularly of Nordic leanings are a whole many concepts and notions and ideas that deliver in perfect measure the bliss conjured by a fuzzy yet snug hug of comforting leanings, amplified perhaps by no other word in any other language of the world than what is afforded by the very mention of the Danish hygge. But beyond this much circulated buzzword of global prominence, there exists another world of such lexicon that affords the charm of comfort in varying manifestations of it. And the one we are dealing with today is a similar such word of magic encompassed in profuse measures of it, though dwelling in a comfort significantly different from what we are used to attributing to the Scandinavian wonder of the most delicately and delightfully named terms.

Residing in a dramatic identity of its breathtaking terrains and simultaneously delving also into its definite charm of the Nordic prominence is the islandic presence of Iceland from where stems the universal assertion of a feeling delivered as gluggaveður. Translating literally as window weather, ’tis the literal expression of an emotion of infinite wonders, imparting in certain dimension one of the most enriching experiences of comfort there every can be even as the other manifestation of it is as stark a diversion from this strand of its assertion, as is possible. It is the presentation of an idea that is rooted, like most other Nordic and Scandinavian and related concepts of exquisite prettiness in their essence, in appreciation of the many wonderful elements that make life the beautiful entity that it is. Essentially reflecting a necessity of having to be forever grateful to the natural world for the kind of blessed existence we are endowed with is also this particular Icelandic concept that is exactly as simplistic as it is complex an awareness of the warmth of comfort pervading the fine lines of a worthy life.

You know that sense of cosy realisation that washes over you on a rainy day as you sit by the window, a warm mug of your favorite beverage sitting snug on your hands, the aromatic steam of what it holds intoxicating you with a romance perfect enough to make you fall in love with life a little bit more, transporting you therefore to an immersive experience of the soul and the senses that enthrals and excites and just about as effectively calms you down, even as you yearn in that moment for time to stand still, so that you can continue to gaze into the distance in all the nothingness that it has to offer and still manage to experience one of the most enriching visages of what this whole, wide world has to offer in all its magnificence?

The essence of gluggaveður rests in part in this particular scheme of thought that wants you to forever look out into the pouring streaks of the silvery rain, the wind howling over the trees that dance with a gait of abundant abandon, shaking you up quite a bit even as you stand safe in the haven of your home, sweet home. And as you warm up to this moment of the heaven conspiring to bring peace upon you through means of its chaos, you become aware also of the stark reality that awaits you just across the barrier of your artistically decorated facade of the bricks and concrete, though you don’t really need to venture out amidst the lashing pour of the clouds and brave the tremendous intensity of its thundering light and sound show or its display of a dancing rhythm that can unsettle anyone not fortunate enough to afford the luxury of merely witnessing this show of natural fury. And that exactly is the other spectrum of the premise on which the concept of this window weather is rooted and from where it derives also its very literal name. It is the kind of weather favourable enough to look out at from behind the window panes and even derive a certain romance out of, but think beyond it, in terms of exploring the ravages of what this kind of the weathered outcome can yield and you would know the other end of the canvas across which this picture of natural aplenty is painted.

Gluggaveður then perhaps attempts to articulate the privilege of being able to watch a chaos unfolding right in front of our eyes and derive in fact solace from it, passively involved in its eruption of what is a potential disaster that we still yearn for not to end, because sheltered under our own safe haven we find instead a certain delight in its being. There though is a particular virtue rested in what can also be interpreted as a facade of apathy, of nurturing the power of appreciation and cultivating the necessity of a patience that makes us wait still for this bad weather to turn into as good as what it seems like from across the bridge of our safety. And despite this particular concept of comfort that we have likened the experience of a gluggaveður to play out across as in the somewhat dark premises of it, the notion of the window weather can easily pertain to the other vagaries of the natural kind. Not just rain and hail or clouds and fog, the concept of the window weather embraces also the clarity afforded by bright days and the glare brought about by sunny skies, all through though emphasising on the kind of weather that is always more favourable from behind the barrier of the window. Because stepping out under too brightly shining a sun can be as disastrous as finding yourself in the midst of a roaring thunderstorm or an incessant downpour. The allusion is therefore always to such occurrences and happenings of the natural world that leave us feeling always a little less mightier than what we tend to otherwise, bring us to a realisation of how misconstruing we have been in the judgement of our standing in this world while also dawning upon us an awareness of how infinitely appreciative we need to be for being granted the riches of a life that does not come easy to all. For indeed, leaving it to the Nordic mode of expression to each time deliver a lesson in the pride of humility and the power of nature seems to be the way of living the best life we have been so generously entitled to.


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