Old Russia

From the forest and lakes came the breath of an old Russia Viktorov had previously only read about. Ancient tracks ran among these lakes and forests; houses and churches had been built from the tall, upright trees; the masts of sailing-boats had been hewn from them. The Grey Wolf had run through these forests . . . The earth beneath Viktorov’s boots was as squeaky and springy as an old mattress. The leaves on the surface were light, brittle and still separate from one another; under them lay leaves that had withered many years before and fused into a brown, crackling mass — the ashes of the life that had once burst into bud, rustled in the winds of a storm and gleamed in the sun after a shower.

life and fate, pp. 158 – 159

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