The Seduction of Lake Tahoe
Updated: Oct 14
"Thereby, it seemed, all was to be achieved if somewhere I had a hideaway and a refuge,
if I knew of a retreat safe and quiet, with a forest or lake nearby..." ~ Hermann Hesse
Whether seeing the Lake for the first time or the hundredth, the novelty of Lake Tahoe's beauty never fades. It's the cradle of soulful dreams and emotions.
Words for emotions that come to mind: seductive, calming, tranquil, cosmic, mesmerizing, stimulating, engaging, enchanting... the list goes on, but their definitions are limited in scope.
Here are four words defining emotions in languages other than English. They convey feelings we experience during a visit to Lake Tahoe beyond those words mentioned above.
1. Shibumi (Japanese)
Shibumi is an understated beauty, elegant simplicity. It's something not achieved, but discovered.
Shibumi is something you stumble upon during a visit to Lake Tahoe. You feel its presence, a sense of overwhelming calm. Sometimes all you can do is shed a tear in gratitude.
2. Duende (Spanish)
Duende is a quality of passion and inspiration, loosely defined as a collection of values whose worth is so inherent that no outside applause is necessary. Duende is having soul, a heightened state of emotion.
The spirit of duende rises from the depths of Lake Tahoe and climbs up inside you from the souls of your feet. The feeling flows through you as you take in the Lake with all your senses, each in a peak state of awareness.
3. Desiderata (Latin)
Desiderata was a prose poem by the American writer Max Ehrmann. It's not hard to imagine Ehrmann hiking down to a smooth boulder on the edge of the Lake, penning Desiderata.
"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence...
"and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
"it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." ~ Max Ehrmann
4. Saudade (Brazilian)
Especially with reference to songs or poetry, saudade is a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia.
The moment you turn your back to Lake Tahoe and move away from this transformational place, the saudade begins.
Your mind does what it can to remember the overwhelming emotions you experienced on the Lake. They may have only been moments, but they were galvanized in your mind.
Words, as expressive and meaningful as they are in any language may still be inadequate.
But words help us tease out meaning behind the feelings we have in such an immersive place as Lake Tahoe.
Maybe words are unnecessary. Maybe all that's necessary is gratitude.
This, in itself, is a conscious understanding of the word shibumi.
I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident. I’m a premium ghostwriter and photographer. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story. If you're interested in any awe-inspired photos in this post, or in my gallery: click here, or just call or text at 530.608.9150. Let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email: email@example.com.