Sunday, June 26, 2016


Kettle tea

For years my daughter and I experienced vardøger when my husband, Tom, was about to come home from work.

We would hear his car in the lane about 10 minutes before it actually arrived. Since we never knew when he'd be finished work or arrive, this signal made it easy to shift from one activity to another during that 10 minute interval.

After Tom retired, I didn't get vardøger very often and I thought maybe it wouldn't arrive again. But I heard it once again one day before he drove in. And then the next day, I heard my friend's car in the lane a little while before she was due for a visit. When it happened this second time, I set my kitchen timer for 10 minutes and then got busy with other things. When the timer went off, I looked down the lane, and there her car was, turning into the lane right at that moment.

Vardøger literally means "warning soul" in Norwegian. In "The Sense of Being Stared At", Rupert Sheldrake writes, "Typically, someone at home hears a person walking or driving up to the house, coming in and hanging up his coat. Yet nobody is there. Some ten to thirty minutes later the person really arrives to similar sounds. People get used to it. Housewives put the kettle on as the vardøger arrives, knowing that their husbands will arrive soon." Etiäinen is the Finnish version of the same thing. Like vardøger is in Norway, etiäinen is not an extraordinary phenomenon, but a common part of everyday life.

I like this. It's one of those sweet little mysteries that doesn't need to be understood or solved, just enjoyed.