Soundscapes

I still can’t seem to think at all. I’ve got a lot to do, and with the cognition switched firmly off, not much is happening which in turn is a bit of a worry… In the past the grey matter usually turns itself over again at some point, I hope it’s the same this time around.

But, where one faculty is dulled, another one steps in the breach and for some reason, all I can do at the moment is hear things. This is slightly unsettling – I have what is termed mild deafness, particularly in one ear, where I have difficulty making out speech when there is background noise – so being acutely aware of strange sounds puts me off kilter.

Yesterday, two sounds brought me up short. One was a stranger, a man, who was repeating ‘All women are scum’, to any woman who crossed his path. He kindly repeated it twice to me, in case I didn’t quite get it the first time, which I hadn’t, only lip-reading the ‘scum’ part. Then on the top of a multi-storey car park, standing with the supermarket shopping, rather than getting straight into the car, I listened to the wind whipping round this huge building that has been encased in scaffolding and plastic sheeting. It sounded to me like a strange symphony, it’s just that I couldn’t place the instrumentation. Was it only the wind crashing things around or were there hidden workmen on percussion, adding some extra clanging and banging? I even wondered how the sounds would turn out if I tried to record it. Crap probably, I thought, so I didn’t.

Maybe it’s something about the supermarket. Last week an old lady came up to me. She had an internal monologue that would not be contained. I won’t share all of it, it was too personal, but this is a snippet of it as I walked round the shop with her for a bit.

‘Oh your skin. When you get old – am I cracking up? – your skin, the doctor told me this. When you get old, your skin. Your skin is as thin as tissue paper. It just rips like tissue paper. And there’s me, well I didn’t know, just ripping off plasters, tearing my skin. Oh no. Am I cracking up? Don’t get old. Your skin is like tissue paper. Did you know that?’

Poor Josephine. She was bent double, literally, with a bad back and the monologue was a little heartbreaking.

Today I went for a walk and stopped to listen to the extraordinary sound of a field of wheat popping. I don’t know what was causing the noise, I couldn’t see anything. They used to grow wheat in the field alongside our garden when I was young, so I know what a field of wheat sounds like. I know what the wind sounds like in it, for example. But popping and crackling? That was a new one on me. One of life’s mysteries perhaps.

I can’t help wondering what I’ll hear next?

Silent wheat earlier last month

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Posted on July 17, 2012, in Be not idle, Biophilia, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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