Photo: Illustration by Monika Walaszek

The Law of Gravitation

By Anna Leonowicz

Autumn had arrived. A girl was walking on the pavement covered with a thick layer of dry leaves. Each rhythmical step made them rustle like waves falling quietly on a shore. Sparrows were cheerfully quarreling in the bushes over the remaining berries. The girl arrived at the door of her house where a fireplace was waiting to welcome her with the low sounds of steadily burning wood. But shortly before she entered the door she heard the lonely and painful howl of a dog somewhere in the distance, which made her body shiver.

Years passed by and the woman was now a grown up. Her life was filled with noises, buzzing sounds of phones and quiet meetings with books. Her grandma was getting older and more and more helpless, walking back her way to childhood. So at times the woman took her wooden flute and played a tune about hope that brought her strength and gentleness.

A day came when the woman accompanied her grandma to a hospital, watched her mouth striving to utter her final words and listened to her heavy breaths. The old lady passed away with all her history, the days of joy and the days of grief. There was no thunder to make people notice the difference of her presence gone. The white walls of a hospital remained the same as well as its daily routine. A human being disappeared quietly like a melting petal of snow.

In the country of loss no activity seemed relevant. The woman felt numb and deaf but for the call of one place, the house of music, her secret chamber.

As she entered the sounds were already there, circling around people, whispering into their ears, nagging at them, pleasing and teasing, searching for those who will let them in. She sat quietly and was striving to make a place in herself for those invisible guests. While she was slowly immersing in the music someone asked her to dance, so she got up to be closer to everything that was silently playing inside her. With the movements she felt the sorrow and harshness of harmonica, the tenderness and gentleness of piano, the incessant will of survival and the rhythm of life. The lonely howl of a dog met with the talk of a cheerful stubborn sparrow. It all had its timing and place. She smiled.

While she was dancing there was a voice of a wise woman in the air telling that music is nothing we create. It is forever present in relation between sounds, something to be discovered. As an apple falls down subservient to the Law of Gravitation thus feelings vibrate with music. Circling between joy, sadness, anger and love, the most complex composition is like a memory of a man who has gone through a lifetime of experience.

Back at home the cat was lying on the couch and the wet sounds of his licking tongue were safely resonating in the room. At the sight of a fly he got up, suddenly straight and focused. Squeaking sounds of attack filled the air. The woman turned on the water over the bathtub and the rich and soothing tune immediately began to massage her mind. She laid in the bathtub and let her head sink under the water. The sounds gained a new value. They were more distant now, yet still clear. She entered another world of meaning.

AKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This story emerged from experiences in dancing Blues and Tango as well as singing. Therefore I would like to thank dancers in Kraków for sharing their joys and struggles with me, my singing teacher, Joanna Słowińska, for being a constant source of inspiration, and my friend Weronika Lach for encouragement in writing.