Firelight and that happy grace.

The phrase I took for the title of this post describes what my housemate and I soaked up this evening as we sat by the stove, where she had been tending a wood fire since she got home from work. When I came downstairs from a nap, it was already brightening up the whole house, and our dispositions as well. The modern world doesn’t let us feel comfortable about the slowing-down and love of staying home that are natural during these cold and short days, but Kenneth Grahame does:

“The rapid nightfall of mid-December had quite beset the little village as they approached it on soft feet over a first thin fall of powdery snow. Little was visible but squares of a dusky orange-red on either side of the street, where the firelight or lamplight of each cottage overflowed through the casements into the dark world without. Most of the low latticed windows were innocent of blinds, and to the lookers-in from outside, the inmates, gathered round the tea-table, absorbed in handiwork, or talking with laughter and gesture, had each that happy grace which is the last thing the skilled actor shall capture–the natural grace which goes with perfect unconsciousness of observation.

“Moving at will from one theatre to another, the two spectators, so far from home themselves, had something of wistfulness in their eyes as they watched a cat being stroked, a sleepy child picked up and huddled off to bed, or a tired man stretch and knock out his pipe on the end of a smouldering log.”

― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

14 thoughts on “Firelight and that happy grace.

  1. I noticed this, especially: “The modern world doesn’t let us feel comfortable about the slowing-down and love of staying home that are natural during these cold and short days.” Then, I wondered. Why should we care one bit about what the modern world thinks, or allow it to dictate our actions and shape our responses?


  2. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of everyone else makes me question whether I should be so content staying home so much of the time. Should I resolve in 2019 to get out more? Perhaps not more but more frequently so I won’t become a hermit? Maybe yes to that last one but I do so love being home. So much so that I felt the comfort of your own words and vowed to read Wind in the Willows again.


  3. I think more than a few of us will be looking for our copies of Wind in the Willows.
    I love being at home even with no fireplace. I find going out in the evenings is particularly hard because it’s so dark and cold out.


  4. What a lovely picture. I am so glad you are coming along to our group. It was so nice to see your name there. I love this passage from Wind and the Willows. But I loved your description of you coming down stairs after your nap. You write beautifully.


  5. I always thought of it as a children’s book. I think it embodies hygge perfectly from what I see and read here & I am soaking all the coziness up with a 1 month old.


  6. I love the part where Mole all-of-a-sudden has this overwhelming desire for his home. I usually feel this about 2 hours after I’ve left. 😉

    Unless I’m in Kentucky with my grandchildren.



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