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.
And what a year it has been! Terrifying politics and weird weather. Dogs and new dogs and a summer that wouldn’t end … plus an autumn that never quite began. Now, it’s New Year’s Eve! This is it. The end and a beginning.
And what a year it has been! Terrifying politics and weird weather. Dogs and new dogs and a summer that wouldn’t end … plus an autumn that never quite began. Now, here we are. December, the last month of the year. Christmas is just days away and you know I haven’t wrapped anything. This may be the year I skip the wrapping and just hand them out!
The sun was so bright this morning. Sometimes, the sun is the brightest in the winter. It is such a white sun again a dark blue sky. The trees are bare now, yet somehow, the forsythia bush still has green leaves.
It’s the only green-leafed growing plant out there. Everything else is brown or gray. It’s not terribly cold yet. I could take my pictures in just my sweater — it wasn’t cold enough to need a coat.The cold will come. It always does, but not quite yet and I’m just fine with that. I love the peacefulness of the dark blue sky and the white sun with its long rays.
It took these last February when we had a sudden heat wave that brought mid-February temperatures in the 70s and 80s. We’d had a fair bit of snow by then. All the rivers were solidly iced. There were piles of snow everywhere.
Along came the heat. It took a few days, but the ice began to break. The snow-pack started to melt. We were walking around in short sleeves and I would have worn sandals, but the ground was the slushy, muddy mix you get as the snows of winter soak into the ground. A strange time to be out and shooting pictures. The following week, temperatures returned to more normal levels, though not as cold as they had been before the heat of summer hit us in the middle of February. These pictures are all the breaking of the ice and the melting of the snow-pack.