Nairobi, Kenya, 1970

Spring has a kind of yearning to it. Deep yearning and anxiety. Everything is alive, but there is an incomprehensible sadness in all nature, despite her new life.

Anton Chekhov
Quoted in My Encounters with Chekhov by Konstantin Korovin
The Bitter Air of Exile: Russian Writers in the West, 1922-1972

Photo by Ernst HaasNairobi, Kenya, 1970
From the Creation series

Love Means the End of Happiness (Part LXXIII)


A great crowd had collected to see Anna Alexeyevna off. When she had said good-by to her husband and children, and there was only a minute left before the third bell, I ran into her compartment to place on the rack a basket that she had almost forgotten, and then I had to say good-by. When our eyes met right there in the compartment our spiritual strength deserted us both, I took her in my arms, she pressed her face to my breast, and tears flowed from her eyes. Kissing her face, her shoulders, her hands wet with tears – oh, how miserable we were! – I confessed my love to her, and with a burning pain in my heart I realized how needless and petty and deceptive was all that had hindered us from loving each other. I realized that when you love you must either, in your reasoning about that love, start from what is higher, more important than happiness or unhappiness, sin or virtue in their usual meaning, or you must not reason at all.

Anton Chekhov
About Love (1898)
The Portable Chekhov

Screen captures: Cher and Nicolas Cage in a scene from Moonstruck (1987)


Just Tell Me What You Want


When I felt like trying to understand someone or myself, I used to take into consideration desires and not actions, about which everything is conditional. Tell me what you want and I will tell you what you are.

Anton Chekhov
A Boring Story (1889)
Lady with Lapdog and Other Stories

Photo: Human/Need/Desire by Bruce Nauman (1983)