THE etymologies are quiet about the word nook.
They seem baffled by it, tracing it to Middle English thence vaguely to "Scandinavian".
Definitions abound, as they tend to nowadays (the age of abundant authorities), but most agree on something like peaceful spot, retreat, secluded place, or quiet corner.
The nook's close relative, the cranny, is similarly traced to Middle English, though this time from Old French, and is more universally defined as a small opening or crevice, particularly in a wall.
However, I haven't gathered you here today to discuss crevices in walls. These have their specialists, I'm sure, and I hesitate to tread on territory where surer feet might boot my bahookey.
However, I'm an abundant authority on nooks. Nooks are nice, but getting harder to find. You may have one, if you're lucky, in your garden. But most gardens are overlooked, and an overlooked nook is no good.
I used to have a nook I claimed for my own in Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden. It had a fine view and lay out of the way in a verdant dead-end so there was little human traffic. Occasionally, the curious peeked in but, seeing me sitting there like a rudely awakened lion, they tended to retreat.
You could retreat to the hills for a peaceful spot, but a nook shouldn't be in the middle of nowhere. I had one in the London-loving Northern Isles, a little space among long grass and sea pinks. I felt close to nature but, more importantly, to a heritage centre with working lavatories. Ideal.
In that nook, I'd lie with my head in the grass and my eyes examining the sky, while my ears soaked up the sound of the sighing sea. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was bliss to be alive. But it came close.
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