Get going with Gökotta!


Spellbound by the magic of an existence managing to find ultimate bliss in even the most simplest of everyday joys day in and day out, so much so that has led it to metamorphose into an identity the world looks upto as the ideal, the simultaneously Nordic and Scandinavian assertion of character has endowed the Swedish experience with a charm endearing in its every idea. Harbouring the cosy comfort of rest and pleasure in its intoxicating indeed coffee culture called fika, nestled still in that vibe of cosy contentment in the sufficiently evocative mention of lagom, contrasting that vibe in just enough with the elaborate gourmet recommendation of the smörgåsbord, the beauty that plays through every strand of what conjures up the soulful realisation that Sweden happens to be in its visual grandiose of the many islands and lakes and forests and mountains is also what pours out as amply in its really aesthetic core.

From such a symphony of the most alluring tunes flows a certain note of utmost melody, perched high on the rejuvenating scales of nature’s reach, embodying the greens of the visage and the trills of the senses, doling out a more than generous dose of heartwarming riches that feeds into the insatiable human appetite for beauty in such measures that is overwhelming and enamoring. As prescription almost in therapy indeed of modern day musings but nestled here within the country confines as a way of life that stands as a testament to their cultural essence steeped deeper in the real understanding of living in the truest sense of the term, emerges this most befitting of rituals indeed that one can start their day with even when that does not require any custom to be dictating terms to that effect.

For indeed, so wholesomely rewarding and perfectly blissful this morning indulgence in nature watching and bird hearing tends to be that has most of us anyway partaking of this experience of sheer luxury. But even then, to have to attend to such special moments that only life can endow one with as something culturally validated and essential in its seeking out is a gratification that the Swedes have managed to avail for themselves, rendered also as poetically as the actual experiencing of it in what plays out as so melodious an utterance in gökotta.

One really needs no reason to embrace this pleasure abundantly encountered in the wisps of an early morning, when the world is still to come to terms with the buzz of modern life and when nature is at her glorious best, fresh and new in her emergence from the alluring shadows of the mysterious darkness that had engulfed the world all night, breathing of a air crisp and fresh and misty, dancing in a mood joyous and lively and debonair, whistling a tune only the early risers of the world can sway to in all its soothing and upbeat aura.

That vision of nature, redolent still with the beauties of the night from which it has emerged by cutting through the delicate sheets of dawn to discover for itself such fibres of existence holding the promise of another day not any less beautiful in appeal and being, and the realisation of it through very delightful displays of animals scampering about in pursuit of their daily lives and serendipitous awareness of pretty birds meting out melodies and chirps and songs and warbles makes for a sight to behold and an experience to savour, so true and precious in its pristine purity and flawless finesse that beats hands down any other supposedly realer treasure that awaits to be laid hands upon. And for Sweden who prides itself in this tradition of waking up early to seek out the natural glory and the winged creatures in particular with even religious links to elevate further this pursuit of no less than the divine indeed, the gökotta surely makes for a part of their lexicon that itself gets as luscious in lucidity as it can.

Intertwined with the religious connotation of Ascension Day out of which the tradition probably emerged, gökotta shapes up as even more inviting an idea in its wide exploration of involving also the exciting prospect of an early morning picnic replete indeed with the cheerful chatter of the birdy beauties. More appropriately a springtime tradition and particularly concerned with the singing cuckoo, this collective seeking out of the melody by the Swedes is something that has come to be deeply ingrained in their collective existence. No wonder the Ascension morning service is often held by churches out in the open vistas of nature where the cuckoo sings its heart out, albeit seldom offering itself to full public view but still offering a rhapsodic relaying of resplendence that is perhaps all one needs to discover themselves closest to an awareness of the divine.

So essential is the cuckoo to this whole sprightly spring of the singing sensation that the very naming of this concept as gökotta is build upon the Swedish word for this particular type of the singing bird. With gök referring to the cuckoo and otta being a word for that time of the day between night and dawn, a period of poetic indeed revealing indescribable otherwise in words if not for the exemplary might of the Nordic identity, gökotta is a spell indeed magical in its alluding. That dwelling in the calm of the early morning, historically at 3’o clock specifically, to chance upon that serendipitous hitting upon the ears with the cuckoo’s stirring cue in presence, sure makes for an experience affordable in the intangible riches of life. Sprinkle also a few essences of the spiritual, with the Ascension Day summing up in just the right measure the cuckoo’s return upon Sweden from its winter migration and this folk tradition of the country is one revered across all aspects of its significance.

Of course, as a concept gökotta isn’t anything very uniquely realised, summing up as it does just the profound but common still pleasure of deriving joy in the sometimes mellifluous, sometimes exuberant, sometimes routine, sometimes leisurely mode of the birds doing what they are blessed with the godly ability to do. But the very fact that gökotta still asserts as a singular term encompassing within itself those emotions essentially simple and exquisitely surreal, occurring thus as something standout in that definite calling for it is what makes it a wonder in its existence itself. And it is to the credit of the Swedish assertion, more particularly the national language that has devised this definite term in keeping up with the appeal rested in this idea.

Confirming to many a Scandinavian and Nordic concepts that have always managed to touch upon the otherwise elusive premises of happiness and contentment and peace and calm in something not necessarily extravagant but instead steeped in the easy nature of what fulfilment dawns upon as, drawing from such elements very characteristic of life, commonplace even in rendition, ordinary still but remarkable enough to harbour that magic of what conjures up life in all beauty, gökotta shapes up as yet another elucidation in excellence.

With nature of course as the savior, gökotta perhaps mimics the Norwegian revelation in friluftsliv but holds indeed its own to stem as a way of life that is not necessarily buoyant with the causes and effects of what it might entail. Gökotta isn’t even a philosophy so as to say, one that you might expect in our dwelling upon the way in living expression and is certainly not as ‘global’ as well- either commercially or wordly though it definitely is very common a pursuit anywhere and everywhere. But it perhaps is this basking of it considerable oblivion, as being a concept that exists in so much concreteness that makes this Swedish eloquence all the more enamoring when one comes to chance upon it.

Gökotta then is even more substantial a concept because it does not suggest a break away from the daily routine of life even when it is, if one comes to think of it. Unlike friluftsliv dwelling in that essence of taking some moments away from life to let oneself connect with nature as something very mindful, conscious even in the beneficial promise of it, or even not vibing exactly with the much, much touted hygge of creating that palpable space of warmth, existing instead as something that one would chase after simply because they fancy the early morning ambience that nature sets upon the world as something even exclusively interpretable in terms of such beauty that is very physical, or at least sensuous, gökotta tends to resonate a bit more in its ‘authenticity’.

swedish bird watching concept early morning
Source: SWIISH Blog

As something true and not imposed, with no other goal than what plays out literally imbued in it, this is a concept that does not even strive to live up to the standards of the profoundly enlightening life realisations that many an other Nordic terms and Scandinavian ideas have been leading to. This however does not make Gökotta any less or even any more magical an encompassing of the essence resident throughout the identity of a region more than expressive of the enigma that it has come to be ubiquitously defined in. To attribute to gökotta such layers in meaning that goes beyond its simplistic desire in arousing the human early enough at morn to tune in to the cuckoo’s melodious voice would be but an unnecessary sophisticisation of a commonly pursued universal bliss of remarkableness. Letting the morning show the day might be what gökotta solely and singularly aspires to be by bringing upon one an experience enriching of their ordinary daily existence.