January 18th, 2009 8:38 AM
My best friend recently completed this task and it inspired me to do it when I was exploring a bit of the island where I had never been. I wanted a different angle on it so I chose a place that I thought would have very little to observe and that I would focus on what I could hear.
I sat on a tree trunk next to a tiny stream in a Woodland Trust Forest called America Wood, after battling it out with muddy and boggy paths, broken stiles (on a bit of the path that went outside the Woodland trusts area). At one stage my path disapeared and I had to use a fallen tree to cross over to the other side of the stream. My long walks with Fiona in the New Forest had taught me some tricks on getting past a muddy bog without sinking in knee deep. (You pick up large twigs and small branches and throw them on the mud and then you walk over them.) But thats another story.
I took a couple of minutes of sound recording by the stream, so all of you could listen to part of what I heard. But my skills at operating my mobile phone when it comes to voice records failed me and I accidentally recorded a voice memo, which I cannot transfer of my phone. So you just have to imagine.
Trust the chrononaut in me to notice how the speed of time changed depending wether I was focusing on my surroundings(slower) and when I am doing something or focusing on my thoughts (faster)
Observation in America Wood
I found a really quiet place. Next to a stream. After a while I realise that the place is not at all quiet. There's the stream I am sat next to. It has a tiny water fall made by the roots of a nearby tree blocking the silt behind it. Eventually it will probably dig under the root or rot the root away. The tree has got a good spot.
Then there is the wind. It is very vague unless there is a sudden gust of wind caused by the turbulence from the southwind blowing against the cliffs.
There is a road nearby. i can't see it but I hear cars going past. Ive already sat here for 20 minutes. My seat is a hard root and it is getting uncomfortable.
In the distance I can hear some sort of banging noice. I cannot distinguish what it is.
A tiny light brown spider walked over my paper. Now it is on my leg. I like their species better in a small size.
Last 3 minutes went really slowly. The sun is getting low. Its a weird light. I remeber I didn't bring a torch. I take a sip of water and remind myself to drink more soon. Something big just drove past. I move my hair of my ears and make my bell clink. Its kind of an earing, but attached onto a small palit of hair
Last 3 minutes went really fast. I forgot to say about the birds. They had been silent for a bit. There is one to the right of me. A small one that I can't see. Now I can hear a couple more of the smae species. There was a different tweet from a distance. Just heard a shot. It could be many things. It doesn't alarm me because I heard many earlier when walking. The sound made the birds quiet, except for one.
Last 4 minutes felt like 10. The water sound is constant and unchanging except for an occasional splodge when a twig or something else floats by. My bottom is even more numb. I forgot to change position. And my feet feel tinlgly. I shift.
I am facing toward the path and saw a red squirrel 20 m away. once it saw I had seen it, it scurried away. My ear is towards the road and I hear more traffic or I hear the traffic better. I sit for a while quietly and wait for a different sound. then I hear a wind gust.
15.14 I move on.