I remember as a girl, my mother liked to give me books she thought were important. One year was my “Nobel year” and all the books she gave me had won Nobel prizes for literature. Some were not bad at all. Jean-Christophe by Romain Rolland (1915 winner) was incredibly long, but really interesting for a girl studying music because it is a fictionalized biography of Beethoven.
Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun which won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920, was a rougher go. It was about trying to survive on a hardscrabble, cold and barren part of Norway. I sort of hated the book, but I can’t forget it, either. These were people who lived terrible lives. They were so miserable it was almost art in its own way.
This prompt is about growth and I wish I had pictures from that hardscrabble land in Norway. For all I know, it has since become a tourist mecca. It has been a long time since the book was written and the world has changed. We now vacation in places no one could live 100 years ago and we think it very precious to be in these places.
Not so different than all the years we went to Jackman, Maine for vacation. An incredibly beautiful part of the country where you can — these days — easily survive. But work? Assets? Unless you came there already wealthy, you won’t find wealth in those mountains.
On the positive side, you may find a kind of spiritual richness there unavailable in easier climates, in softer environments. And so these are pictures from Jackman, at the top of the mountains in northern Maine. It is as beautiful a place as I’ve ever been and probably one of the most difficult places to live. In that roughness is growth of your spirit.