by Kate Sweeney
It is an autumn morning in Gateshead and I am walking through Saltwell Park. The sun is bright but the shadows are long. I push the buds of my headphones into my ears and contemplate the distance from the small lake to the war memorial, wondering if it is about a 3.18 minute walk – the length of the final sound file in the ‘Re-Imagining The Wordsworths’ project.
Asphalt. A dog runs in front of me then stops and looking back, smiles and wags its tail. I am not in The Lake District and I am not surrounded by peaks, but the sounds of other birds from far away gradually get louder.
Leaves. My red boots step through the first drifts that gather at the edge of the path. Sycamore, Elm.
Grass. The dew underfoot changes the colour of the leather. The soft sounds of violins mixed with rain recorded in other places drown out the shrieks of little children and the brooding low sounds of their parents.
Earth. Scuffed soil under a swing. I remember the blue light on the snow that evening well over a year ago. Voices recall the space and the beauty.
Look up! The clouds are thin, like paths across a distant field. The horizon fades to a bleached yellow just above the rooftops of the newly built houses peeking through the trees. I open my coat and increase my stride.
Stone. I circle around the base of the memorial. There will be paper flowers here soon. Turning back to the lake, I look down at my long shadow and wave at myself.
Silence. The 3 minutes are over. I sit down, disturbing a pigeon at the end of my bench.
The other sound pieces recorded as part of ‘Re-Imagining The Wordsworths’ can be found in the previous blog posts here, here and here. They were produced as part a collaboration between the Wordsworth Trust and the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership. Hannah Peircy, Jemima Short, Lucy Stone and Kate Sweeney would like to thank Michael Rossington, Sarah Rylance and Evie Hill (Newcastle University), Jeff Cowton, Lynn Shepherd, Bernadette Calvey, Melissa Mitchell, and Susan Allen (Wordsworth Trust), Tracey Messenger, Helen Robinson, and the Students of Keswick School, Deirdre Wildy (Queen’s University Belfast), Robert McFarlane, and sound artists Conor Caldwell (Queen’s University Belfast) and Danny Diamond.