This was the view from my living room window last weekend. I was wandering out of the kitchen and did a double-take, suddenly captivated by this breath-taking view that had simply presented itself to me without my having to so much as step outside the front door. ‘Do I really live here?’ I thought. I forgot what I was doing and just watched this guy walking up the pristine white snow that had fallen overnight. Just him and his dog. I opened the window and let the crisp, cold air pour in, bringing the scene outside right into my living room. But I felt like a voyeur, somehow trespassing on their privacy, breathing their air, and I closed the window again, returning the outside scene to its rightful place.
This view, out the back of our house, has to be one of the best things about living in Nuuk. Our backyard is this mountain – sometimes an immense and silent backdrop to the falling snow, sometimes a foreboding greyness in the thundering wind and rain.
When the snow is deep and powdery, kids flock to the back of the house to dig holes and tunnels. Our son has been known to leap, with his friends, from the window, disappearing in howls of laughter into the powdery whiteness below. One memorable and very snowy winter we dug a snow cave immediately behind the house – a cosy and silent hideaway that we filled with rugs, sleeping bags, and pillows, and lit with candles. Being only metres from our living room window and our home wifi, our little family snuggled in for the night to see a Netflix film, watching our frozen breaths condense above us as we drifted off to sleep.
I like to sit with the window open, breathing in the cool air and listening to the nothingness radiating from our mountain. But sometimes I am surprised and flinch at a swooshing sound as the occasional skier shoots past, sometimes waving from only metres away. Again, I feel that I have somehow crossed between two worlds, that I am not entitled to experience this pristine natural beauty, sitting, as I am, at my dining table.
In the winter, the midday sun baths our mountain in brilliant white light. In the early spring, the sun’s drawn-out descent coats the lingering snow in a blanket of pastel evening light, first yellow, then pink. In late spring, water pours over its rocky slopes and rushes down the stream by the side of our house in a surging torrent. And in summer people wander, zig-zagging, loitering on the bushy slope, hunched over, chatting and collecting blueberries.
And only once in a while, there is an even better view of our mountain than from our living room. On those rare occasions, I lie in bed in the darkness, watching the ghostly, green lights – drifting, dancing – silhouetting the dark horizon of the mountain that is our backyard.