Seeing things that aren’t there

tiger sun 2 layer P1340158

Learning new words in a different language can turn up some interesting surprises. While you often see hints of roots from a related language that help you puzzle out the meaning, sometimes you see things that aren’t actually there.

Take, for instance, a Spanish word that I learned last week. Related to the word for early morning (madrugada), it is a verb that means to get up very early, conjugated for second person familiar, the tĂș form. The word is madrugaste.

soleil half size

I was thinking about this word one morning as I was finding it hard to get out of bed. We’re probably past the time when we can blame jet lag, but a couple of other factors still have me struggling to break the surface of sleep. For one, the matrimonio (bed for a couple, which the realtor took pains to assure us is new), is proving hard to get used to (emphasis on hard).* For another, there’s the strange time shift for which we can thank Generalissimo Franco and his relationship with Hitler, details of which are another story.

I don’t think I really fit the profile of either a night owl or a morning person, but for right now, the early morning doesn’t seem to be agreeing with me. Maybe that’s why I’m seeing things that aren’t there; I look at the word madrugaste, literally “you, my close friend, got up really early,” and in that one tidy package I see mad, drug, and something that looks suspiciously like “ghastly.”


My lack of sleep isn’t nearly as ghastly as this.

*It takes me back, and not in a good way, to settling in during our first winter in Spain, about which more here, with a charming picture from the Bodleian library archives.

[Images: Tiger Sun, taken recently from our window by el Guapo; Soleil, painted summer 2015 by el Guapo; Wikipedia]


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