Singing, Each to Each
By: Joanna Leyland
Find the audio for this story at my YouTube Channel: HERE
Download the transcript in PDF format: Singing, Each to Each
Dawn is best, when sight joins sound. First, the whisper of waves shows a glimmer, a sheen, becoming a whiteness that edges the sand; then the rocks sigh and gently free their forms from the surrounding dark; the air starts to quiver and murmur with light; and the blur of a bird sounds a single envious trill.
We are there, we are ready. We greet the day and the dawn, feeling the hushed heartbeat of the world gathering strength for the effort to come. And then we sing. Perhaps one of us will find a fragment of refrain, some old golden song belonging to a legend that has always existed and only needs finding again, and we take it, caress it, give it wings and send it phoenix-like away.
Evening has its time too though. Then, mellowness deepens to dusk; the waves whisper of rest; stars gently chime; the moon has a deeper note. Sound becomes scent, spicy thyme yielding to fragrance of fern, sun-warmed rocks to coolness of earth. And our song, our celebration, changes in tune.
It must be the celebration, the feeling of joy that maddens them. When they hear it, they feel excluded, futile, their heroics reduced to posturing, their words exposed as senseless noise, and … they try to reach it. They beat their way through the waves, while we watch and sing and will not help; we suspect it is not joy but our particular joy that they want to reach and conquer. Perhaps they want what we found long ago.
Of course they fail, and of course the stories start, and the fear and the hatred and the hard words, so that truth is made mute in a babble of lies. Sometimes we sing of that as well, but never willingly, never with pleasure, even though we know the song must include all things. No joy can exist without sorrow, and no song without silence either.
There was one man who heard and understood – now so far in the past we wonder if we dreamed him. The ship passed, sleek and swift in the water, the sailors bent double over their oars as though in agony, their faces ugly with fear and loathing. We knew they could not hear us: they labored and strained and did not even look, did not try and dash their lives away.
We watched and sang and the ship became our song. And then that one man – he had heard the tales no doubt and made provision, bound as he was to the mast – suddenly listened. He struggled and shouted to be freed, and then suddenly listened, listened and smiled.
The ship went its way, skimming over the waves in a tumult of foam, our song now urging it on.