Moonbeams #5: The Invincible Summer Within Us

 In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. ~Albert Camus

Like many of us, I read Albert Camus’ works in high school and college, but I pigeonholed him into the role of philosopher/writer, offering a somewhat gloomy and bleak picture of humankind.  So, I was surprised by this quote and the article about Camus by the writer/philosopher, Maria Popova, whose blog Brain Pickings provides thousands of us with a weekly feast of inspiration.

Maria reminds us that our present-day challenges are far from unique.  Sadly, we’ve been in this predicament before in recent history, stuck in what she calls–the “winter of the human spirit.”

At these low points, it’s tempting to fall into a morass of helplessness.  But she reminds us of Albert Camus’ wise words in his essay “The Almond Trees,” written during the Second World War at the peak of its destructiveness and brutality.  This essay appearing in the collection Lyrical and Critical Essays is now on my bookshelf.  His words are an appeal to us, to dig deep, to summon our true strength and power:

Each time our world cycles through a winter of the human spirit, Camus remains an abiding hearth of the invisible summer within us, his work a perennial invitation to reinhabit our deepest decency and live up to our most ennobled nature.–Maria Popova

I’ve taken their words to heart.  On our walks the past two weeks through Holland State Park, I thought of them as I captured these images of flowers blooming.  Now more than ever, their delicate, transient beauty fills me with wonder and hope.

Petal Diptych. Shot with a Canon 70D. Holland State Park, MI.

I won’t lie–it’s a challenge to dig deep, to stay focused, thoughtful, and intent on giving our best to the world.  But it’s essential.  Otherwise, we’re living on the surface of life, rocked by the daily political storms, drama, and violence.

How do you remain focused?  How do you stay true to your creative purpose?  Do you use meditation, exercise, journaling?  Do you turn off the alerts on your cell phone?  Set aside time to focus on your creative pursuits?  I’d love to know!

Click here to read Maria Popova’s article:  Albert Camus on Strength of Character by Maria Popova

These images are also my submission to Leanne Cole’s weekly photo challenge Monochrome Madness.

This is the fifth Moonbeam, a series open to everyone who wants to penetrate the murkiness of divisive rhetoric and fear-mongering that defines our age. My hope is that together we can create a virtual space that will startle us with its beauty, hope, and vision of what is possible.  To read other Moonbeams click on the embedded link.

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18 replies »

  1. So true, Jo. Some things are inescapable. I guess I’m so wrapped up in researching a new book, set in 1940 in the USA, that the parallels to the present time are inescapable. So glad you love the quote. 🙂 Hope the rain stops soon!

    Like

  2. Thank you for the encouragements – as always something to keep in mind and treasure! Nature is my Friend and great Love and inspiration – and I do love that quote.

    Like

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