Friday, September 9, 2016

Boyhood by Leo Tolstoy

I'm almost done reading the ebook version of Tolstoy's Boyhood on my phone, and absolutely loving it. His writing, wisdom and insight into the human condition - even as seen through a boy's eyes - is astounding. So there I am reading under the covers at 2am highlighting great swaths of text to reread during daylight hours perchance to absorb them in a more conscious state.

to wit:

I loved Papa, but the intellect is independent of the heart, and often gives birth to thoughts which offend and are harsh and incomprehensible to the feelings. And it was thoughts of this kind that, for all I strove to put them away, arose at that moment in my mind.

Another time, suddenly bethinking me that death might find me at any hour or any minute, I came to the conclusion that man could only be happy by using the present to the full and taking no thought for the future. Indeed, I wondered how people had never found that out before. Acting under the influence of the new idea, I laid my lesson-books aside for two or three days, and, reposing on my bed, gave myself up to novel-reading and the eating of gingerbread and honey which I had bought with my last remaining coins. 

But one cannot always remain the same - one must change a little sometimes.

So delicious was the wondrous scent of birch trees, violets, mushrooms, and thyme, that I could no longer remain in the britchka. Jumping out, I ran to some bushes, and, regardless of the showers of drops discharged upon me, tore off a few sprigs of thyme, and buried my face in them to smell their glorious scent.  

Sometimes I would suppose that happiness depends, not upon external causes themselves, but only upon our relation to them, and that, provided a man can accustom himself to bearing suffering, he need never be unhappy.


JoAnn said...

This sounds wonderful!

Connie said...

Lovely writing. This part especially made me smile: "gave myself up to novel-reading and the eating of gingerbread and honey."

Trish said...

That's a great passage, isn't it?!