Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK
Date: 13th May 2020
Time: 08:58 – 09:13
Weather: Sunny patches, light cloud with a gentle breeze
Average Sound Level: 51.5dBSPL (LAeq)
The roads that circumvent the village green seem a little busier today. A solitary light aircraft, its engine sound falling through the sky, fading into the distance, prompts me to recall the sounds that are absent. The commotion of young children clambering and shouting exuberantly in the playpark and school playground, tapping of hard-soled shoes, balls and skipping ropes begrudgingly halted by the bell, teenage chit-chat cutting diagonally through the outfield, the calls and whistles of dog walkers, toddlers crying in push-chairs, parent’s conversations interjected with sharp calls maintaining order. All these sounds playing in my mind are separated by the attention I give them. Yet, they are simultaneously underpinned and buttressed by the growls of combustion engines idling, parking, circling around the car park’s one way system, horns and frustrated bellowing from car windows congesting the air along the Reading Road. In the skies above the green, civil aircraft roar in waves, undetected amongst the distractions of daily life, Chinooks from RAF Benson cut the air into segments, occasional light aircraft from the aerodrome, dive, circle and silently eject parachutists from their fuselage.
The clarity of the blackbird’s song and the lulling psithurism above, returns me to movement and the vibrations of mechanical waves. Much is absent from the soundscape of a typical Wednesday morning and then the quiet asks: ‘what is it that I miss?’