I don’t have a lot of notes about the sounds we heard, rather I offer the thoughts which the walk brought on.
At one point, I couldn’t hear my own footsteps, but I could hear someone walking behind me and our pace was right in sync. This meant that my own “sound” felt displaced and not my own – definitely a moment of questioning how identity and sound are wrapped up together. Related, do we sometimes feel we need to be loud to be seen, and vise-versa? How much does the sonic environment we’re in influence our own volume (in a forest vs a busy city)? Possibly more important, how does society influence our own volume?
We walked through grass at two different points. The first time was at a fountain near a road, and I was a little bummed that I couldn’t hear the swish of my footsteps in the grass. Near the end, we walked through grass again, but this time in a much quieter area, protected from road noise by buildings and plants. If we could have gone barefoot in this environment, things would have felt particularly balanced.
Times like this showed me how various structures impacted the movement of sounds. For example, turning a corner immediately reduced fountain sounds at one point, and later, walking from an open space to in between buildings greatly lessened the ukulele sound from a nearby stage.
We also tried to figure out why certain places were quieter than the last time we were in them. Did it have to do with the point in the semester? With the light?
Hunter and I both also had a moment when we realized it was nice to be doing this silent walk in the company of each other. That even though we could have been having a similar experience alone, the presence of someone else experiencing things with you was comforting.
Toward the end of our walk (around the time we wanted to go barefoot), I had a realization of how beneficial walking can be. Of course listening is the goal of our soundwalks, and stationary meditations are great too, but there’s something about physically engaging with a space that is so rewarding to the mind and helpful to the body.
This particular Wednesday was the busiest of the semester thus far, and I honestly was reluctant to leave my work and to-do list. But, gah, I’m so glad I did. The walk was fantastic. It was everything I didn’t know I needed. I know it’s hard to stop working, especially when deadlines are looming or you feel you don’t have enough time to get even a tenth of what you need to get done. But in those moments, I might argue that it’s even more important to take a break then. So even if your break doesn’t involve a soundwalk, take some time for yourself on a regular basis, to give your mind and body a break. Because, guess what, they’re not actually on a break! They’re getting ready to get you through the next stretch of work, but possibly with more umph and gusto than before! And maybe even with more clarity! So, take a break. Take a breather. Especially as we enter into a season of insanity. Take some time for yourself. Maybe take a soundwalk – I happen to know a place that offers them every Wednesday evening :)
Until next time!
March 21, 2018
Sunny, high 70s