I had mapped out the route ahead of time, choosing four stops along the way. We started and stopped at the door of the classroom.
Breathe to begin.
Quiet, carpeted flooring.
Door opening. Sharp.
Stop one: Fountain in the music building outdoor courtyard.
Stop two: Fountain in the Teachers College covered courtyard.
Stairs. Steps like raindrops. Staccato. But soft. Comforting. Awesome.
Man staring up and yelling.
Stop three: Fountain at Old Main.
Stop four: Sound instillation in a covered walkway. Water sounds. Running water.
Through a building with flooring made from two different materials. Every third or fourth step a resonant thud.
Clack clack thud clack clack clack thud.
A cart. One single beep.
Sidewalk. Quiet. Distant cars.
Inside again. Enclosed. Tile. Echo.
Return. “Ta-da!” (Yes, I literally said this at the end.)
I had planned the stops ahead of time: three fountains and the sound instillation. When I first found the instillation (on accident) I didn’t realize it was a sound piece. I’m still not exactly sure about the setup, but I think there are motion sensors that trigger different sounds for the space. I had walked through there a few times while finalizing the route, and usually it was just me, and maybe one other person, and the sounds played were high pitched: bells, gongs, birds. So it was CRAZY when we stopped there as a group AND THE WATER THEME CONTINUED! This was hands-down the coolest part.
My second favorite part was going down stairs. It was such a markedly different sound than walking on a flat path. I urge you to really listen next time you’re descending stairs with a group of people. Lots of tiny sounds making one gesture (which is pretty powerful if you think about it).
Sure, we got some weird looks. And that’s understandable. I mean, it’s strange to see a group of people just walking leisurely, not carrying anything, not talking, stopping occasionally, still not talking. But no one got hit by a cyclist, so I consider it a success.
The students commented on how nice it was to be quiet for a period of time, on how different materials reflected sounds differently, on how they felt calm, on how what you see and what you hear can vastly differ, on how they heard themselves.
You can turn any walk into a soundwalk by just setting an intention to listen. Grocery store trip, hike, going to your car…they all can become a soundwalk. Give it a try :)
January 24, 2018
1:40 - 2:10pm (ish)
Temperature in the 70s, sunny
Until next time!