Today’s blog post is dedicated to my friend Ana, for she first introduced me to the German term “Waldeinsamkeit”. This is weird on many levels: First of, I am German and I had never heard the term before. Secondly, Ana is not German and knows the term. Thirdly, the term seems to be internationally known. Fourthly: go to ‘first of’.
I have to say, when I first heard the word, I had a negative connotation. “Einsamkeit” translates to “loneliness”, which is amongst the worst feelings to be felt. In English, it also translates to “solitude” though, and this has a rather romantic feeling to it. And after doing some research, I found that it means exactly that: the solitude of a forest. It was actually a key term in the era of Romanticism – which makes the fact that I have never heard the term even stranger since German was one of my majors in school, and we did cover the epoch of Romanticism lengthily!
Today, I went into my favourite forest for the first time this year as I felt the need to breathe fresh air and clear my head. I discovered the very forest last year and spent quite some time in it during Summer and Autumn. The now still rather barren woods look totally different and very soon I got totally lost. And then, I discovered what the term “Waldeinsamkeit” really means. Or let’s say, I re-discovered it, since it is a feeling I love and have missed.
The reason I got lost was that I paid a lot of attention to the details around me – the soft breeze in the tree tops, the singing of the birds and the smooth scent of the damp moss. I had taken my camera and was – once again – trying to figure out how to best put light, time and aperture together. I also paid attention to the what felt like hundreds of dogs without a leash – I am rather scared of dogs and literally facing my fear. So with all this, I did not pay attention to my route and soon discovered that I had no idea where the heck I was. And thanks to the soothing feeling of “Waldeinsamkeit”, I enjoyed every minute of it!
Even though some plants are already starting to bud, you do not yet see many green leaves. You do find the leftovers of last year’s magnificence on the ground – everything is volatile but it takes a long time to really disappear completely:
And then, within all the brown and decayed beauty, there is some eternity that never seems to fade away:
These branches are rather small but so strong:
And this is always my favourite thing to do – looking up and admiring the tree tops against the sky:
After a while, I put the camera away because I wanted all my attention and senses to reach out to my surrounding. And with every step I took my head felt clearer. The forest is so comforting and the strength of the trees is eternal. It once again put things into perspective.
When I came home, I felt very motivated. I have come to a few decisions concerning myself and my goals for this year. And I know, when I am in doubt about something, I will just turn back to my beloved forest and seek an answer in my personal Waldeinsamkeit!
At the end of this post, I would like to quote Henry David Thoreau. This quote was given to me many years ago by someone who was a great inspiration for me back then:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” (Walden: Or, Life in the Woods)
Yours truly, madly, deeply!
All photos used in this blog are mine unless stated otherwise. Feel free to use them if you like, but be decent and link to this site!