Elizabeth Dillow FILE

Elizabeth Dillow

I love discovering words in other languages that describe a feeling or situation I’ve experienced, but couldn’t find a word for in English. If language is a map that helps us understand our experiences and place in the world, learning words outside of our native languages can help round out those maps; they give us a richer, more accurate range of vocabulary to draw from.

A few favorites: mono no aware, which is a Japanese expression for the feeling of awe that quickly transforms to melancholy while experiencing something fleeting – like seeing an intensely colorful, changing tree in the fall and knowing that all those leaves will soon die and fall. It’s beautiful, and it’s doomed, just like life itself, and the sensitivity to this phenomenon can be overpowering.

Elizabeth Dillow is a writer, photographer and graphic designer in Cheyenne. Her perfect day is a Level 3 on the Beaufort Wind Scale on Land. She can be reached at edillow@mac.com.

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