The breeze is cool, but the sun is warm. There is a crescendo of the sound of birds, singing in the air. The robins are jutting around, bobbing for worms to feed their young. There are still substantial piles of snow on the ground; but the end of winter is near; and spring will stay awhile.
Winter has shown his cold, handsome face, once again, on the Western Reserve. Dropping his white dust on the glorious Magnolia, as if making snow cones to eat. How long will Spring delight in her old lover’s scrumptious treats, until she gives him the boot, another time, from her domain? When will she beg, for him to return? Like the devil in disguise, he tempts her with his sweet desserts.
Several scenes have transpired in “Anna Karenina”, involving the conflicted triangle of Anna’s life. In love, and bearing the child of Vrónsky, she confesses openly to her husband, the nature of her infidelity, and her wish to leave the life with him, despite the fact that it may mean sacrificing her time with her son.
Her husband, Alexei Alexandrovich does not take well to her wishes, and even though all society knows in the back of their minds, what is going on, an open and blatant end to the physical possession of his wife, is more than he can fathom. She tells him, when they meet again, “I am a criminal woman, I am a bad woman, but I am the same as I said I was then, and I’ve come to tell you that I cannot change anything.”
The question of Alexie’s honor arises, when he responds to her, “I ignore it as long as it is not known to society, as long as my name is not disgraced.” ‘…that you behave in such a way that neither society nor the servants can possibly accuse you.’ Coldly, he asks her not to see Vrónsky, that she be his wife, without fulfilling certain duties, and that he will not be dining at home that evening. End of discussion, he walks out of the door.
In the midst of the anguish that Anna is experiencing, what Trotsky would call, having a ‘double soul’, the character of Vrónsky unfolds, gradually, before the eye of the reader. Anna, in love with this man, who is concerned foremost, with his military career, and adeptness at his equestrian sport, is blind to the opportunistic nature of her suitor. She only sees the loving moments she has shared with him, and he with her, on the surface, but we know that his egoism, in the end, is going to get in the way of the true love that he claims he possesses, for her. The complicated reality of his predicament, in his role as Anna’s lover, begins to take seed in his mind, and his amorous commitment to her, begins to falter slightly, as he is made aware of her unilateral decision to leave her husband. Vrónsky wonders, if she deserts her husband; Where else is she to go, but with him?
As I drive to school today, on a cloudy wet day, so many images catch my eye. Condors to building a dream, like the winged eagle that flies o’er the land. The lifting of the morning rain leaves a gray backdrop, and brings to the foreground the vivid colors abounding on the old colonial road. A huge oak surrounded on the ground by the conceited narcissi flaunting their yellow color against the green, and the brown. A small rock lying on top of a huge boulder. A drizzle of rain begins to come down upon my windshield, and “Gloria” blares on the speaker of the radio, followed by “Let it Rain”. I laugh, and continue on my way.
Then I remember, parking is limited these days. I must change my course, and find another place. The clock ticks, the adrenaline begins to flow, as I pull up to the Shakespeare & Cervantes Parking Garage. It’s open! I find a place under the letter “G”. “Love rains down.”
If the book has 800 pages, and I’ve read 300, there are 500 left to read. Dah! Never was good at Math. It’s such a good book, though, that I don’t mind having to read 100 more.
Reading this novel seemed to be a daunting enterprise in the beginning. The truth of the matter is, despite all 800+ pages to read, I have not thought for a second, of putting the book down, and have managed to get to page 300. Only 400 left to go! Honestly, I am thoroughly enjoying this tale, and the edition I am reading, is first class. It is published by Penguin Books, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky; and to think I bought it for 50 cents at a garage sale.
Trotsky has a keen way of telling a story, developing characters, and interweaving them into the plot.
The following quote is quite illustrative of his ability to delve into the psychology of a character, and thus allow the reader to either grow to despise, or love him, or her. I believe the quote stands on its own.
“Every man, knowing to the smallest detail all the complexity of the conditions surrounding him, involuntarily assumes that the complexity of these conditions and the difficulty of comprehending them, are only his personal, accidental peculiarity, and never thinks that others are surrounded by the same complexity as he is. So it seemed to Vronsky.”
I believe Tolstoy is saying that we all sail the same boat, and the same problems arise at sea, for everyone. Some, nonetheless, pity themselves into thinking that they are the only one’s entitled to such woes, and have no sympathy for others who may experience the same. Vronsky, is of course, the man with whom Anna falls in love.
My eye has been going to these white birch against the blue sky, for sometime now. There is something pure, and fresh, about the combination, that gives me a good feeling. Now that the days are getting longer, and finally warmer, we can honestly say that winter is gone for good, and spring is here to stay.