I’ll Have the Danish

My favorite new word is hygge, pronounced, “hooga”, but with a better Danish accent.

In Denmark, it means coziness and warmth and cheerful goodness. It means candlelight and hot mulled wine, knitted scarves and good companions, pickled herring and maybe a friendly Viking. I’m thinking about hygge right now since A) it’s a record cold July day in Oklahoma and it’s a nice warm thought, and B) we are preparing for four months in Copenhagen, long enough to find the best birding spots, learn a few words in Danish, and maybe soak up a little culture. It’s also Ant Man’s sabbatical and a working trip for me. I’ll be sketching birds, both in urban and rural landscapes, maybe from the seat of a bicycle. Which sounds a little insane and terribly cute, if not entirely hygge.

Our living quarters, like something straight out of a fairy tale. Just ask Hans Christian Anderson. He lived here from 1871 to 1874. We'll be here from August to December.
Our Copenhagen living quarters (follow the arrow) look like something out of a fairy tale. Just ask Hans Christian Anderson. He lived there from 1871 to 1874. Photo by Google Street View, blurry legless people and all.
We had to drive to Houston to get our paperwork in order at the Danish consulate. The mute swan is, by sheerest coincidence, the national bird of Denmark. These two were afloat in the tiled pond in the Houston Embassy Suites lobby. Sketched in a borrowed Moleskine notebook, equations and all.
We drove all the way to the Danish Consulate in Houston to get our paperwork in order. These mute swans, national birds of Denmark, were afloat by pure coincidence in the lobby pool of the Houston Embassy Suites where we stayed. Sketched in the pages of a borrowed Moleskine notebook, equations and all. Guess who I borrowed it from.

Lately I’ve been working with writer Susan Dragoo, illustrating a story for Oklahoma Today Magazine. In the past weeks we’ve torn through the Oklahoma backroads like Thelma and Louise in Susan’s monster truck, laughing, eating too much fried food, and hitting the brakes for interesting wildflowers. And that, come to think of it, is some real Oklahoma hygge.

Happy Thursday.

Painting from an abandoned bridge over the Cimarron river near Ripley, Oklahoma.
Painting from an abandoned bridge over the Cimarron in central Oklahoma.
At Wilson's Rock, an outcropping along the Arkansas river in eastern Oklahoma.
A hot day at Wilson’s Rock, an Arkansas river outcropping.


7 thoughts on “I’ll Have the Danish

  1. Lene Koch Borchmann says:

    Dear Debbie
    Welcome to Denmark! I’m sure you’ll find many good birding spots here. Just 11 km from Nyhavn, where you are going to stay, there is a nice birds resort called Kalvebod Fælled. There you’ll find waders, geese, ducks and many birds of prey. Getting there is a very nice ride on the bike:-) In Jutland as well you’ll find many good spots. The west coast by the Northsea is fantastic! And just 15 km from where I live near Odder in Jutland there is this a very small island called Vorsø, where you find comorants and eagles. Jens Gregersen (as you an artist drawing birds) lives part of the year at the island.

    Do you give exhibitions while you are in Denmark? I would love to see your work!

    You are always welcome to drop by for a cup of coffee and a little “hygge”:-)

    Kind regards
    Odder, Denmark

    1. zeladoniac says:

      Thank you, Lene! I’ll check out the spots you mentioned. I don’t have any exhibitions planned while I’m there, but if one comes up, it will be posted here. And I’d love to drop by for coffee with you sometime. I’ll bring the pastry:-). Thanks for the note!

  2. Kathie says:

    Your LIFE is a fairy tale! Wow! How exciting all of it is! Your little apartment under the eaves seems to me the perfect “nest” for an artist! I love the swan sketch!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s