Monday, September 2, 2013

On Tolstoy, Summer and Gold in the Sand

Ivan Kramskoy, The Unknown Woman, 1883

Summer is half way over, and I’m just now getting into the groove. Staying up a little later, waking up later, too. Letting things go slack, allowing everyone a little more space, more time, more freedom.

It’s like I’ve exhaled, finally, from the school-year before. And I realize how much stress I carry with me during those days. I know I spend much time thinking of my children, praying for them, hoping the best for them… obsessing maybe? Just a bit? “Well, if you keep THAT up (grades, behavior, practice schedules, grooming habits) you’re going to have a rough go of it.”  At the time, it seems like the ‘right thing’ to do. I’m caring, involved, proactive. And stressed out.

Why do I now feel lighter, happier, like a huge weight has been lifted?

It’s not that I’m less busy! I’m driving and and cleaning and coordinating and working just as much. Am I that much less consumed by thoughts of my children’s achievements and future?
Do I really hold such a grip – the white knuckled kind – on everything when school is upon us? So much so that when I let it go, I’m almost different person?

Is that why we have summer vacation? Is it really for the moms?

I’ve been reading Anna Karenina this summer. It’s long, it’s intriguing, and it makes you both wince in distress and bounce with joy over various characters. And, if you know how it ends, which most people do, a part of you is just waiting to see how it all falls into place, and hoping that your book might contain the secret alternative ending that Tolstoy really intended.

As with others of Tolstoy’s writings, I am completely intrigued with his knowledge of the human heart. Where does he get this stuff? How does he KNOW? And it is his secondary characters who have won me over utterly.

I read this passage the other day, and… well… :

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