“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer (spring). And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” quote by author Albert Camus from “The Stranger”
I came across this image above last “spring” and it made such an impact on me. I had to track down where the quote came from and found it was by Albert Camus and was translated (very loosely) from French. Most translations say summer at the end but it was this image that said spring that helped me through a seemingly endless winter in Sweden.
As a California girl it happened to be my first “real” winter ever and it also happened to be the longest and coldest winter on record for many years. My husband & I moved to Sweden together in December 2012 and his family had been hoping and praying for snow so that I would get to experience a real white Christmas and I also was looking forward to that. But then there was a white New Years, white Valentine’s day, white St. Patrick’s day, white Easter…do I need to keep going? Needless to say the endless amounts of snow, ice, darkness, and negative degree temperatures got REALLY old. I started to hate snow and it seemed that every time it started to melt and I would get a glimmer of hope that spring was coming I would wake up the next day only to look out my window to a fresh blanket of snow and the process started all over again. It was a very emotional and mental experience for me, something I had never gone through or ever had to face before. Seasonal depression became no joke to me and the days of darkness were blinding to my mind. I honestly can’t even remember what I did for those 5 long months of winter until Jonas & I went on a trip to CA for a friend’s wedding. We left Sweden when the snow had just started to melt and came back to a full blown summer!
This winter couldn’t have been more different than the last, only a few major snowfalls that melted quickly and spring came quite early! This has been my first “real” spring in Sweden and it’s been very intriguing seeing the first signs of spring that I totally missed last year. Right now there are flowers blooming all over the city and the weather has been quite lovely aside from the mandatory April showers (that bring May flowers.)
I see so much wisdom now in the full quote above that I would have never understood unless I had gone through it myself. It was one of the darkest times of my life in more ways than one but it did teach me how to find within myself an invincible spring. I had to reach inside myself and feel the spring breeze, smell the blooming flowers, and hear the birds singing. In fact, I had to learn how to keep a piece of that invincible spring inside all year round for I believe it is important to always keep an open and blooming disposition.
I feel like I became my own snowdrop flower. They are one of the first spring flowers to appear and can even push up through the snow. So like in Camus’ quote, when winter was pushing me down hard I had to find the will, the power, a strength in me to push back in my darkest times. Then, just like a snowdrop flower, to push up through the snow and declare that I found within myself an invincible spring.
These photos are a part of a Tales of Sheaves “The Awakening of Spring” photo set but I decided to separate these pictures and write this blog because they became so symbolic for me. The different shades of green candles are representative to me of the coming of spring. I was very inspired by Celtic music and the awakening of spring when I created the headpiece you see in the photos. I wore a brown dress and used neutral toned flowers on the sides because when the seasons are in between winter and spring the forest is brown and has very muted colors.
My favorite part of the photos is the reindeer moss I’m lying on. It was so perfect that we found this spot because I used some of the same kind of lichen that I gathered last winter/spring on the top of my headpiece and I love how my head blends into the bed of moss.
I apologize for this long-winded explanation of why the quote above is so significant to me but it felt important to put into writing my experience of finding my own invincible spring and if it can encourage you in any way I am glad!
-Lindsay of Sheaves