Published in / Soft Boiled newsletter

Augember is now: the season in between seasons, the unofficial month whose name I made up some years back, a period of time that is, in its sensuality, deeply felt by many of us. Augember is similar to a soft boiled egg – the transitory and thus precious state of matter between raw and well cooked. It happens now when the fruits are so full that their skin cracks, when we fill out bellies with the liquified sun. During these last warm nights, upon returning home from the city I open the metal gate of our garden and stand still, listing to the sweet juices talking with the hungry earth into which they seep in the dark. I then slowly walk up the stairs, breathing in deeply the Augember scents.

This time I asked myself; can I write about Augember again, can I write about it every year, can I each time write about it in a different way?

Emotionally, my childhood was unfolding in two streams – in one, I was happy and often almost ecstatic in my solitude, exploring the world in a closeup or pondering about infinity, lost in my books and in my thoughts. I could entertain myself for hours, being my own friend, and I didn’t really need any other, besides interactions with one or two close friends. But then I had to dip in the other stream too. In this one, I fought dire feelings that usually emerged in interactions with other children and adults, out of fear of not being likable, not fun enough, not performing enough. Those feelings were so familiar and so suffocating, but they were just a part of my internal texture, how life felt, how I felt. When I look back, I can see that I was always under the constraints of something utterly abstract, as if haunted by a strange animal. I had never seen it, but I knew it well by its breath.

Despite my mother and I have always been very close, I had never told her about it. Only now do I comprehend that I simply couldn’t – because I had no language for what I was experiencing. Not only I didn’t talk about it, but I was also questioning the realness of what I was going through. Only now, many years later, I can grasp what was going on: I was a very anxious child. 

In the end, there’s this simple term for what I experienced. But my feelings were so intense, the darkness I knew had its specific structure – hence pouring all of this into a singular word seems not only like a relief, a liberation, but at the same time, like a gross oversimplification.

The longer I’m here, participating in life, and the more I write, the more I’m fascinated by language and how it informs and forms our lived experiences. The power of language to open and flatten it at the same time. You decide to say something and by choosing certain words, you omit all the other layers. With our ability to convey something into language, we give something up, balancing the scales all the time. When I say “Augember”, I’m both satisfied that I gave meaning to, elevated something that would go unnoticed, and a bit saddened, as if, by giving it this confident name, I stripped this ephemeral time off its humbleness. 

What if we are drawn to the sea, mountains, rivers, or deserts also because they offer language for our inner experience without constraining it into words?

It’s usually quite easy to find the right vocabulary to mark the unequivocal moments, and much harder to carve out language for the transitory states. When something is changing but the shift is imperceptible. When some tectonic plates move slightly, within ourselves or in a relationship. 

My usual morning ritual is to walk into our garden, carrying a cup of black tea, taking off my Birks, and walking barefoot on the grass. And this morning, I felt the earth getting cooler and the sun being softer as it stroked my face. 

Change is precious in its elusiveness. To be able to witness it, we need to stand still and watch. To give enough time to thoughts and processes as they unfold within us is the wisest and many times the hardest thing to do. Especially in our urgency culture, as they call it, which expects instant action and reaction, not only in workplaces but also in our private lives.

Maybe, maybe if we had a richer language for our emotional life, things would be different. Perhaps inventing a language could even protect us from outside pressure.

But what kind of language this could be?

Five years back I was going through some sort of a transformation, a profound change that the western culture calls “a crisis”, a very narrow word that immediately brings negative connotations. I was simply growing, and in the process, I had to get rid of what I no longer needed, to make space for the person I was becoming. During this time, Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés came to me through a friend. 

I remember the afternoons of August 2017, as I was laying on the blanket in our garden, drinking coffee while reading the book and feverishly writing notes, thinking, reflecting, having intense dreams, and trying to integrate all that. In retrospect, I realize that it was a sort of therapy before I started a real, guided one. At that time, the book was an imaginary vessel that carried me to the “other side” (but, as it goes, I still had to do the paddling myself).

It took me about three months to read it, as I was simultaneously rewriting myself anew. This book changed me; better said, it opened the way for “my new self”. There are many things I learned from it, a lot of them I forgot although they are for sure tucked somewhere inside me. But my most precious find was to discover a new vocabulary I could later use in order to ground my mental processes in language. I already wrote about Homing earlier this year, but there’s much more. This book offers a whole language, which wasn’t invented by its author but rose from thousands of years of storytelling carried on – like sacred heritage – in different cultures, by people who used stories and mythologies as a way to navigate one’s life path and to propose/answer questions.

In the end, we don’t need to invent a new language, it’s already there, offering a tender space for sharing the subtle motions of our internal landscapes. And even if we’ll never be able to convey the full scope of what we feel into words, we can get closer, we can put our hand on it.


Since January, I’ve been exchanging long voice messages with a close friend who lives in a different part of Europe. We’d often speak about what we were experiencing, and sometime in the springtime, she confided that she was going through a transition, deciding about her life path, standing at a crossroads. I can’t quite explain it, she said. At that time I remembered there was a language for this. Instead of “being in a crisis”, when one avoids social life and has a strong urge to retreat to solitude, my friend and I now say: I am going into the woods, I need to go there alone and stay there for as long as needed and do what I need to do. 

Or: I’m veiling. I’m processing something and I don’t want to talk about it yet, because the thing is so delicate, and it needs time as a sourdough needs time when it slowly raises under a cloth – under a veil. Removing the cloth too soon would cause the dough to flatten. 

And sometimes I myself practice “sitting with one’s rage”. As if visiting an angry lion’s den, talking to it, caressing it, asking it questions. And there’s more. In the end, it’s nothing else than metaphorical, symbolic, poetic language, which makes it easier to relate to what we experience.

There are more resources, like Tarot, like astrology – whatever they mean for different people – hope, life guidance, or a mere joke – what they have in common is the fact that they are vessels that offer a language for questions and processes that our culture made so difficult to verbalize. I guess this is, next to other reasons, why these new-old alternatives are on the rise: we are hungry for a new language. 

And now I realize I’ve written all of this because I initially wanted to talk about the Augember state of mind: being in between, anticipation, finding oneself in the midst of something ending and something new beginning. Augember on the outside, Augember on the inside. An inkling of a change. Feelings that are both uneasy and sweet. There’s something different in the morning light, for the time being indescribable, but no one can doubt its existence.