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RUSSELL WANGERSKY: Under the big tent

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18.10.2019

Is it possible to fall in love with a word?

Especially a word that isn’t even in a language you speak?

Especially if that language is German, that oft-angular, occasional chunky language that feels odd when you hear it?

Now, the Germans have some fine words — schadenfreude, for example — the happy feeling you can get from someone else’s misfortune; or zeitgeist, which is loosely defined as the mood of a particular period of time. Fine, fine words indeed, precise and poised.

But my new favourite is himmelszelt, which, to my chagrin, translates officially as the firmament.

It was to my chagrin, because the first time I heard the word, it was translated for me by a German speaker as “the tent of the stars.”

The tent of the stars.

The problem with the clearest of summer nights here is that they often come with a northerly wind, even in summer. The dew is down early and heavy, the wind ruffling the timothy grass in the way that makes you involuntarily shiver........

© The Journal Pioneer