Thursday, April 24, 2008

earth day week: spazieren

Spazieren is a German word that means "to take a walk". And not like you're walking across the hall or walking to the neighbor's or even a walk around the block...but to go for a walk, to get outside and take a stroll. But it also means more then even means that you're going to get outside and enjoy your surroundings, enjoy being out in nature.

Often you'll hear Germans talk about how they went spazieren over the weekend or are making plans with friends to go spazieren. It's not just a spontaneous thing on a nice day. More than once I've been invited out with some German friends just to go spazieren: we'd get together just to take a walk through some woods or nearby fields for an hour or so in all seasons.

To me, the German culture's love and respect for nature is wonderfully expressed in that word: spazieren. Because while many Germans love to go camping (which isn't so rough as many Americans prefer it to be), to grill in nice weather (and only nice weather and only your basic wursts or steak, nothing fancy), and to exercise outside, they all love to go spazieren, to be in nature and enjoy nature.

And I think that's really what Earth Day is meant to be: not to make us feel guilty about what we're not doing to save the earth but to help you remember that the Earth is our home and it's our only home and it's a beautiful home. And when we get outside and enjoy it, even to simply take a stroll once in a while, we'll naturally want to show it more respect and care.

(Some friends with my husband strolling through the forest back in December.)


annie said...

Hey Heather, I came across your blog a while ago through etsy... I love your quilting! But this time I think you made a wonderful explanation for the german "spazieren" here..

heather said...

annie, I enjoyed going through your blog, can be sure I'll be keeping an eye on it. I'm glad you agree with my spazieren explanation...I've always felt it was one of those many German words that just has no real English equivalent!

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