Santa has crossed our paths and so has winter! With New Year, the winter is in full throttle. While we shiver in cold and long for the sun’s warmth, there are some who get inspired by it. Winter with its white cloak and defiant chimes has attracted writers for generations. Apart from spring, this is one season which catches the writer’s imagination. After all, it’s that time of the year when we quote Hamilton Wright Mabie and say “Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
Now, Hamilton isn’t alone, there are others in his league- writers who are inspired by winter. So, let’s ponder over them and get inspired before the winter gives away to spring.
- Albert Camus
The Nobel Laureate and Philosopher Albert Camus is the first person who comes to your mind if you think of winter quotes. Camus writes a poignant poem in a depressive winter which makes you introspect and hope for the new.
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. 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.
It’s believed to part of Camus novel “The Stranger” but parts of it appears in his essay titled “Return to Tipassa”.
- Leo Tolstoy
Another writer who was quite fond of winter is Leo Tolstoy. Being a Russian writer who witnesses the harshest winter, Tolstoy is perhaps the best person to guide you in winter. In one of his not-so-famous non-fiction philosophical book “The Kingdom of God Lies Within You” published in Germany in 1894, Tolstoy writes,
“In the midst of winter, I find within me the invisible summer…”
It is believed that Tolstoy wanted to portray our inner suffering by this. That Christ lies within us, inside us and during the harshest cold dark nights He simmers like the invincible sun.
- Victor Hugo
From Russia now we move to France. In Paris, the iconic novelist Victor Hugo awaits us with a wintery view of the Eiffel Tower. It is here in 1862, Hugo wrote his magnum opus Les Misérables which is a classic even today and has been adapted for a various stage production.
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”, wrote Hugo.
The quote simply articulates the boon of laughter and how essential it is for our well being. Just like the sun in winter, it is important for us to survive in this world.
- George R R Martin
How can one forget about George R R Martin while writing about winter? His seminal work “A Song of Ice and Fire” is set in winter and all the characters marvel about the glory of winter. So much so that, almost all the characters say, “Winter is coming”. Here Martin writes about winter as if it’s a character all by itself. With all its life and darkness it awaits us.
“The night is dark and full of terrors”, Martin writes.
- Kathryn Harrison
Last but not the least, we take a look at Kathryn Harrison’s novel “Enchantments” which is set in the fierce Siberian winter and deals with the bloody winter of Russia in 1917. The novel tells the tale of power and hunger in the harsh winter of 1917 were several people died.
Some point in the novel Kathryn writes, “All of life was dull and dark when measured against visionary ecstasy” which beautifully depicts the contrast and contradictions in the characters and the winter season. The dynasty collapses, the royal family suffers and so does the people. The novel inspires to reflect on life and be kind on yourself and others.
These are some of the writers who took a ride in the winter and came out victorious.
After all, “When winter is here can spring be far behind?”