This is ch.1 of part 3, vol. 2 in my book. I think this chapter is also about alternative ways to understand time — from the short perspective of the birch trees it looks cyclical… and this is spring coming round again, pushing up through last years’ leaves. From the point of view of Andrei’s oak…which has seen the generations of birch trees come and go, spring is just illusory. On a practical level, Andrei seems to be using his time well — it doesn’t make sense to me to think of it as a doomed enterprise.