‘The hawk flies above the earth, hormoniously flapping its broad wings: suddenly, it stops as though it were meditating on the sadness of life, then shakes its wings and is off like an arrow above the steppe, and does not know why he flies, nor what he seeks.

Then, on the summit of a hillock, a solitary poplar appears.  Is it happy, this beautiful being?  In the summer the torrid heat, in winter, the cold and the blizzards, in autumn the dreadful nights, when it sees nothing but darkness and hears nothing but the angry howling of the wind.  And worst of all, it remains alone, completely alone throughout its life.’

-from The Steppe by Anton Chekhov