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Pausing to Listen

On stepping out in the garden yesterday, having spent nearly all morning on the computer, I asked myself 'why was I not here already?!' - especially as blue sky is getting more precious by the minute now we're descending into October. Why would I not spend most of my time here, journalling the garden, taking in the abundance of Autumn? JUST as I had that thought, a large buzzard swept gracefully onto a branch of the oak at the top of the sloping wild lawn, paused for a moment and then began circling up and into the clouds (or so it seemed, anyway), bringing my attention to the waning sliver of a moon above the telegraph wires.

Observing this moment of the buzzard's pause, before reorienting, felt like a welcome lesson - the potent act of stopping and sensing in order to realign with our onward path. Maybe I am reading too much into this, but it feels like so much can constantly be learned from simply paying attention.

This is really the whole point of the Soundmapping Project, to help people re-fall-in-love with listening to what is, all around us...

As we spiral deeper into Autumn and then winter, I am inviting you to listen with me, from wherever you are - to let drawings and words come in response to the sounds you here and what you sense in your home soundscape - which I like to call you 'homescape'. If you live in Wales, you can then send me these to become part of a Wales-wide Sound Map - going with many others as part of an epic co-creative project.

Thanks to all who have sent me their drawings, writings and recordings so far!

There is a great programme lined up for the remainder of the project:

STONE SOUP: Keep posted to hear - very soon - about the special online event on November 14th (6-8pm), in which 3 other storytellers and musicians will share pieces from their own soundmapping experience as art of the project.

SOUND JOURNALLING: Over winter I will be sharing regular creative prompts for how to make a Sound Journal of your own homescape.

SPRING SOUNDSCAPES: ...and in early spring, there will be a week of guided participation in collaboration with young (and FANTASTIC) naturalist Ben Porter on identifying wild soundscape - and particularly bird song, as the dawn chorus begins to build again.


This is a quick sketch by Peter Stevenson drawn whilst recording the spring water flowing at the very point where a mermaid was sighted - the last 'official' sighting in Wales.

From that link you can also check out the other recordings that have been coming in from people all over Wales - please continue to send them to me and I'll share them as soon as possible!

REMINDER: your drawings can be any style, you don't have to consider yourself an artist or a writer or a storyteller or singer to take part. See other posts for tips and more inspiration...

ailsa x

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