Church bells ring in the distance as the kettle boils, warm rushes of steam pouring into the bright kitchen. It’s Sunday morning in Copenhagen, Denmark and I’m about to make a cup of Japanese pour-over coffee and begin my day. The concept of slow living has come to hold almost mythic status for me in the last few years, culminating in my move from Calgary to Copenhagen, and the lifestyle changes that accompanied this geographical shift. However, slow living, in all its accompanying splendour, can feel out of reach for most of us, regardless of which continent we occupy.
Rather than feel bad that I’m not living my best (slow) life every day, I’ve chosen to pursue something that is much more attainable, slow moments. These are the stolen hours between a hectic work week and a busy Saturday afternoon. The half hour that I spend making myself a coffee and drinking it by candlelight on a weekday morning, the new Monocle firmly in hand. Slow moments are about taking back time. The constant rush that modern life necessitates, supported by conveniences such as ready-made food and instant-coffee, steal our time rather than giving us more. My goal is really about taking back this time, adding minutes that have meaning where I can.
Of course, the mind wanders thinking about the possibilities inherent in occupying a small plot of land somewhere far away from the hustle that is present in any city. The hustle in Copenhagen is somewhat different, and some would say, myself included, somewhat special. Perhaps in Copenhagen, I came here thinking, in this oasis of work-life balance, beautiful canals and two-wheeled transport, I will find peace. And, in a way I have, but that does not mean that deadlines do not loom large and emails can go unanswered. And so, I seek solace in my slow moments: the luxury of biking rather than driving, or even of walking rather than biking. A decadent hour spent in bed on a Saturday reading a favourite book, pages dog-eared and worn, surrounded by fresh linen sheets. An hour spent picking out flowers at the local market, revelling in time spent purely considering flowers. The satisfaction inherent in sipping coffee by candlelight on a weekday morning, welcoming stillness before the day properly begins.
These moments, although not as frequent as I would wish, or as my Instagram might suggest, nonetheless fill a space in my body that needs nourishing. There is luxury in expanding and filling up space purely for myself. Preparing a late breakfast of fresh blueberry scones and hand-ground coffee brought back from a recent trip to Japan is truly what my Sunday dreams are made of. In reality, I don’t often get to do this. Life and work stand quite firmly in the way. But, maybe, that’s what makes slow moments so sustaining, that they are rare. As emails build up and real-life knocks, I wait, sipping my coffee and letting the smell of fresh blueberry scones spread throughout our apartment. Perhaps, on these slow Copenhagen mornings, I feel a little closer to where I’m supposed to be.
*Recipe for blueberry scones can be found in The Kinfolk Table
**Coffee picked up from Koffee Mameya in Ometasando Hills in Tokyo