In Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina; Stepan visits Levin while in the process of selling a forest to a third party. Levin thinking that he has undervalued the sale price asks Stepan if he has ‘counted the trees’; Stepan being a townie laughs at such an idea and replies; ‘Count the sands of the sea, number the stars. Some higher power might do it.’
For Stepan the idea of counting trees was so alien that he didn’t know where to even begin and saw it as something only God could do. Nothing Levin said could convince him that if he counted the trees he would see that he had undervalued the land and it was worth far more.
What have we undervalued recently?
Where are the trees we need to count this Lent?