Home » Writing Advice » Waldeinsamkeit


4 February 2019

From Atlas Obscura:

There’s a German word, waldeinsamkeit, that Google Translate (yeah, I’m that guy) puts in English as “Solitude of the Forest.” It’s meant to describe a singular type of loneliness that is at once isolating, peaceful, and reflective. And having a spot where you can go and indulge in a little waldeinsamkeit of your own can be a rewarding experience for everyone. Now we want to hear about the most incredible places where you go to be alone.

While waldeinsamkeit traditionally implies a dense, quiet wood, the emotional experience can happen just about anywhere. Maybe it’s a meaningful hideaway in your city or town that you like to keep all to yourself, or maybe it’s a bustling public square where you allow yourself to be alone in a crowd. Personally, I sometimes like to head to a place near our office called Transmitter Park. It’s right on the East River, and has a terrific view of Manhattan just across the water. It’s gotten much more crowded in recent years, but I still go there and tune out the world, just watching the water and meditating on the endless possibility of the big city, or whatever’s on my mind. It helps me feel like I’m both in the middle of the teeming city around me, and blissfully apart from it. Wherever it is that you like to explore the wonders of solitude, we want to hear about them.

Link to the rest at Atlas Obscura

From Rosetta Stone:

Waldeinsamkeit roughly translates to “the feeling of being alone in the woods.” The structure of the word says it all: “wald” means woods/forest, and “einsamkeit” means loneliness or solitude.

This word is about creating a connection with nature and cherishing one’s time spent alone in the woods. Waldeinsamkeit evokes feelings of contemplation, calm, and even meditation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a poem titled, Waldeinsamkeit.

I do not count the hours I spend
In wandering by the sea;
The forest is my loyal friend,
Like God it useth me.

In plains that room for shadows make
Of skirting hills to lie,
Bound in by streams which give and take
Their colours from the sky;

Or on the mountain-crest sublime,
Or down the oaken glade,
O what have I to do with time?
For this the day was made.

Cities of mortals woe begone
Fantastic care derides,
But in the serious landscape lone
Stern benefit abides.

Sheen will tarnish, honey cloy,
And merry is only a mask of sad,
But, sober on a fund of joy,
The woods at heart are glad.

There the great Planter plants
Of fruitful worlds the grain,
And with a million spells enchants
The souls that walk in pain.

Still on the seeds of all he made
The rose of beauty burns;
Through times that wear, and forms that fade,
Immortal youth returns.

The black ducks mounting from the lake,
The pigeon in the pines,
The bittern’s boom, a desert make
Which no false art refines.

Down in yon watery nook,
Where bearded mists divide,
The gray old gods whom Chaos knew,
The sires of Nature, hide.

Aloft, in secret veins of air,
Blows the sweet breath of song,
O, few to scale those uplands dare,
Though they to all belong!

See thou bring not to field or stone
The fancies found in books;
Leave authors’ eyes, and fetch your own,
To brave the landscape’s looks.

And if, amid this dear delight,
My thoughts did home rebound,
I well might reckon it a slight
To the high cheer I found.

Oblivion here thy wisdom is,
Thy thrift, the sleep of cares;
For a proud idleness like this
Crowns all thy mean affairs.

Should you, like PG, have no idea how to pronounce Waldeinsamkeit, here’s a link.



Writing Advice

3 Comments to “Waldeinsamkeit”

  1. I frequently experience Basementeinsamkeit (Kellereinsamkeit).

  2. Well… it’s a nice legend.

    It’s not a word I ever used or saw used in my native language. In fact, translated it would mean that the forest is lonely.

    Having said that, it’s wonderful to walk in the forest and I love it.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.