Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK
Date: 18th May 2020
Time: 08:56 – 09:11
Weather: Sunny, largely clear skies with a light breeze
Average Sound Level: 49.4dBSPL (LAeq)
After spending the weekend working, converging my thinking on problems, process and product, I can sense the warm rays of the sun tempering this implacability and my mind open to the soundscape once again. Unlike on chillier, stormier days, the calm breeze buoys sounds to my ears and I can listen attentively. The alto wash of MPVs, four-by-fours and estates seems to dominate today, with no screaming sopranos and only the occasional rumble of tenors and basses. The counterpoint of birds, leaves and softly plosive wind noise across my ears creates a relaxing and familiar composition. I marvel at the size and gracefulness of a kite swooping low in front of me, while the surprisingly loud tumbling, sine-tone of a light aircraft drives the limiters on my recorder into action. It is only the presence of others that breaks my outward attention.
As people approach, pass, or even glance in my direction I feel the subtle distraction of expectation, as I become poised to explain my sedentary presence and conspicuous pile of technical paraphernalia. In company, listening becomes self-conscious, in solitude, my ears belong to the soundscape. The centrifuge of attention seems to modulate in force, anticipation drawing it inwards, present-centred openness allowing it to slow, swell and absorb itself in distance.