霜降 shuāngjiàng / 霜降 sōkō / 상강 sangkang
菊月十七 / seventeenth day of the chrysanthemum month
I am reading a book where the eye is led down and up columns and the hand flips the pages from left to right. It is The Importance of Living written by a wonderful man called Lin Yutang. I say that with absolute confidence even though I've never met the man and because I never will.
The Importance of Living was written in English and published in 1937 but I am reading a translated edition set in Traditional Chinese. I am always lamenting that I cannot read some writings in their original form - Voltaire in French, Kierkegaard in Danish or Sei Shonagon in Japanese - yet I chose to read Lin's words translated from English to Chinese. Perhaps I am hoping that for a different degree of intimacy as Chinese is my mother tongue and even though Lin wrote in English, he and the topics in the book are Chinese, although I observed, slightly perturbed, that I continue to think in English while reading. Or perhaps reading the book translated adds a veil of mystique that may be lifted when I read the English text which I will do when I am done with the Chinese one. I know I will never read it in Chinese if I read The Importance of Living in English first.