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I’m trying to remember the first time I allowed myself to have it. After a moment of reflection, I know that the first hermitage was not by choice. Hermitage is when you feel yourself to the core. You can only do that in silence. And silence is when nothing distracts you. Silence begins as you concentrate fully on yourself. My first silence came without permission. I didn’t want it and I wasn’t prepared for it.

External circumstances made me stay with myself. I had no strength to act, I functioned only biologically. There was a pause that stretched like a sticky, liquorice-flavored goo. Time was no longer measured by hours, nights, or even meals. Everything around ceased to matter. Even the ringing of the phone didn’t sound urgent enough to react.

After the initial shock my body experienced, and the discomfort of the change, there was a strange calmness. Strange because after the intrusive flood of thoughts that finally began to flow away, an unknown emptiness appeared. There were no more questions. The muscles, so far tense to the point of pain, began to let go, and the state of drowsy rest went over the body and mind even after waking up. It sounded a bit like a vision of death. But I was alive.

After a while, a blissful feeling of pleasure set in. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the remnants of consciousness demanded functioning in the world as before. It was also necessary to start eating, wash off the traces of tears, and start counting the time from the beginning. This unnamed length pause with the fermata was found to produce an awakening effect of the quality of a new birth. Everything around took on a different meaning. And I became closer to myself.

I have never described this experience before, although I remember it perfectly.

I organized another hermitage consciously. It turned out that there is no need to completely exclude yourself from life to get it. It is enough to limit external stimuli to the necessary minimum, take care of “quietness” (e.g. turn off the screens, go for a walk, stop for a longer time for no reason). It is worth preparing the ground. It helps to distance yourself from others for a while.

This time I planned three months of hermitage. That’s why I support myself with music and literature. I listen to a lot of instrumental music, I started reading a book that is important to me (I will write a note about it next time), I make notes in my diary and calendar, I crochet. My walks extend not only in time and kilometers. It’s quieter, calmer.

The tense, turbulent, first part of the concerto is always followed by the second one: full of sweet melody, calm piano dynamics, with a minimized number of instruments, introducing a different quality, changing the perception of the themes, with a pause before the solo part and opening in the climax to the third part .

Translated by Szymon “Zachary” Mański
*ps. soloist and her courage chosen not by accident