Untranslatable: Tree Project IX

Recently, I found an article, 11 Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures, published in The Huffington Post.  The original article is from the Maptia Blog.  While these words might not have an exact translation into one word in English, many of them were occurrences or emotions that I have experienced. Two of them represent a feeling that I experience frequently and fit well, I thought, with my September installment of my monthly tree project.

Komorebi is the Japanese word to describe sunlight filtering through trees.  While trees have a beauty all their own, I love when that beauty mingles with gorgeous light, filtering through green leaves, heavy branches, spilling on to the forest floor.

Komorebi:  Beautiful in any language

Komorebi: Beautiful in any language

Waldeinsamkeit is a German word that is used for the feeling one has when one is alone in the woods yet feels a connectedness to nature.   Alone, but not lonely:  to me this peaceful feeling is one of the many joys of a venture into the woods.



Both of the images above were captured around 5pm on September 1.  The oak tree is still in its full summer glory.  Although many of the other trees — mostly elms and serviceberries — have begun to have a few leaves turn color on leaf edges, the oaks probably won’t begin turning for about four more weeks.  These photographs may suggest that I was close to the tree; however, I was probably about 100 feet from it (slightly north and about 100 feet east for the first image, almost directly north  for the second).  You can see other images of the tree — the one we dubbed “Old Oak” many years ago — taken throughout this year by clicking here.

Maptia, according to its website,  is currently under development.  Its goal is to make a map of memorable, beautiful places and to inspire and share this map with a community of travelers.   I am looking forward to seeing what Maptia has to offer when it is available.   The original Maptia article on the 11 Untranslatable words also has a link to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem Waldeinsamkeit.  It’s a lovely poem that I had never read before.  I wasn’t even aware that Emerson wrote poems.  Enjoyable as it is, based on this one poem, there is no danger of me throwing over Emerson’s essays for his poems.  Still, if you like the idea of “waldeinsamkeit”, I recommend that you take a minute to read it.

3 responses to “Untranslatable: Tree Project IX

  1. Thank you for this! It’s interesting to think that English, for all of the Lake poets and whatnot, is actually quite impoverished when it comes to words describing nature.

  2. Oh, I love the meaning of both of these words – I’ve definitely experienced Waldeinsamkeit many times – I miss it, actually, living in Pittsburgh. Thanks for the beautiful images as well as the maptia website – I can’t wait to follow it and possibly participate.

  3. Lovely photos and perfect words too!