Soundscapes in a Magical Estate by Olivia Begbie
High pitched shrieks followed by a cacophony of giggles pierce the calm serenity of the estate. I feel my face smile as the childish laughter continues – wave after wave of innocent happiness sweeping over the sturdy wall of the Weehailes playpark. A protective high girdle of stone surrounding adventurous growing minds and bodies all noisily bursting with fun. More whoops of delight as someone slides along the squeaking zipline.
“It’s my turn”, yelled a huge voice. ‘How do such little children have the capacity to break every known decibel record?’
Then a rasping, grumpy car horn toots on a nearby road in the real world. Harsh engine revving and screeching tyres shatter the magic. ‘Well, someone’s not happy’.
Golden leaves crunch beneath our heavy boots as we scuff through them, throwing up nectar like dust, as we chuckle and dance . We feel like extras in The Wizard of Oz and start to sing Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Follow the Yellow Brick Road over and over. Soundless dying autumn foliage drifts in amber clouds around us, gently detaching from high treetops as a quietly swooshing breeze passes by.
There are other sounds all around us as we walk deeper under the wonderful rustling canopy above our heads . Creaking, gnarled ivy covered branches. An amazing harmonious natural acapella of birdsong. The contented barking of a large pale blond retriever bounding and splashing in the shallow, glistening, little stream. ‘ Now I know you are happy’, I think to myself. ‘Just please don’t come and shake yourself all over me’.
My granddaughter is sure she can hear the fairies playing under a large prickly holly bush as we retrace our steps through the centuries old woodland. ‘Why not? Anything is possible in this special world?’
This is where I am happy. An enchanting, magical place which refreshes my soul each time I am here. Where sounds and nature are amplified, nurturing and seeping into me. They prepare me once again to face the harsh realities and noises of the world outside these walls. And then I think, - ‘ but which actually is the real world?’
We are extremely grateful to the Third Year Illustration students at Edinburgh College of Art, and Harvey Dingwall for making this collaboration possible. The Citizen Writing Group is part of Citizen, our flagship communities project which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland).
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