Saturday, 8 January 2011

100 Theme Challenge: Give Up

Working on non-blog things for the last couple of days. Had a bit of trouble with the first two hundred or so words and like Marc I was suddenly at the end.

#93. Give Up

I give up.

Dorian didn't respond, just continued to sit there eyes closed, hands resting in his lap. Marc huffed and closed his as well. Breathe in, hold, out, hold. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four...

First his breath, in and out, next the pulse of heart. The rustle of the grass. The warmth of the sun to his left. The breeze in front, bringing perfume and salt spray. Marc listened and smelt and felt everything in his reach except what he was meant to be trying to hear.

After another countless period of counting, Marc opened his eyes again. Keeping his breathing in rhythm, he spied his teacher out of the corner of his eye. Still the same, in fact Marc had trouble convincing himself that Dorian was even breathing.

It was all much more stupid and more difficult than he had been lead to believe. Nothing he'd been taught as an artisan was as frustrating. Everything had obviously lead towards the final product, even if whittling firewood had been tedious. He'd been able to recognise even sweeping as indirectly necessary. None of the tales of how magery worked had covered the sheer boredom listening was.

Marc mentally sighed, intellectually he could understand why what Dorian was trying to teach him was so important. He could hardly expect to play if he couldn't listen. But why was it so difficult to hear something than was supposedly sounding everywhere forever?

Before he could try and sink back into the trance state he was meant to be achieving, Dorian spoke.

You haven't given up. And that's why you're not hearing the Tune.

That didn't make a whole lot of sense.

You're trying too hard. The aim of the exercise isn't to filter out everything you hear and find something extra behind it. The aim is to listen to everything and hear the whole Tune.

Marc paused, wondering if Dorian was going to share any more advice. After a few moments it became obvious that he'd returned to listening, so Marc mimicked him.

Again he first grasped his breath but unlike last time, kept it in mind as his focus moved onto his heartbeat. The two marked his tempo, against the shifting and sporadic sounds of the hillside.

Marc lost track of time again, and how many times he focused too hard on one sound over the others. He was only partially aware the sun was caressing his right cheek and that the breeze had changed direction.

Like he'd found his rhythm in his breath and heartbeat, Marc felt he'd found the hillside's in the rustle of the grass. The breeze rose and fell, like underlying chords. While the incidental trills of birds and calls of cows in the valley were the soloists playing over.

Slowly but surely the gaps in the symphony were filled in, the light on his cheek both a warm low brass and bright high descant. The earth beneath him built on the bass, solidly supporting everything else, and supplying new motifs.

He was enjoying the lulling and descending line of the sun when a lyre picked up. It was very close, very clear and Marc couldn't quite identify it. What aspect was it? A soulful tenor joined it, singing in a language Marc half-recognised but didn't understand. He continued to listen to it, and began to understand. It sang of days ended, and the time to rise. A refrain repeated by the swarming insects and scurrying critters.

The song started again, more urgent this time, warning of the dangers of staying still. It had almost finished again when some part of Marc noted that the lyre was closer, circling him, playing to him.

Startled, he opened his eyes.

As he did, his breath hitched and the wondrous symphony collapsed, the whole fading away. In its absence Marc truly saw that twilight had fallen, and that he was very hungry.

The tenor faded and the lyre trailed off, Back with us? Dorian asked.

Marc could only nod, still reeling from his first taste of the Tune.

Tomorrow we'll work on how much you should give up.

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