Health & Fitness:Mental Health
205 Soundscenes of a changing tide (sleep safe)
Slide 1: Its the middle of the night. The Lento box is recording alone, tied to a cold, stark railing, that descends down the seawall into the water. Its an ear-witness to the nocturnal sound of this estuary place. East of Burnham-on-Crouch, facing due south, across the river, to Wallasea Island on the other side. There's a bare wind, and the tide is out. Out, but on the turn. On the turn, and rising.
Slide 2: An hour later. Still the bare wind buffeting. The water's come up fast. Is within fifteen yards of the box. Estuary birds pass at distance. Halyards of nearby yachts tink, as they sway on their moorings. All there. All subtle.
Slide 3: Two hours later. The water's still rising. Up and up the seawall. Now up the steepest stretch. Within a few yards of the box. Waves. Heard at close quarters. Heard bobbling, over the many ridged joins that make up the seawall.
Slide 4: Another hour. And no more rising. This is the high tide. Water within an arms length of the microphone box. The wind has softened. The waves are full of themselves. Full, and falling over each other.
Slide 5: Half an hour more. This high water seems always to have been. But the waves have changed. Changed into wavelets. Now chopping at the boundary of the seawall. Chopping and moving from right to left. To the left is west. It indicates the tide has turned. Mid-stream the water will be bobbly. Bouncy water that water people know means everything is not about to change, but has changed already.
Slide 6: Just ten minutes later and this world is a very different place. Different because beyond all the chopping and bobbling wavelets, is a vast body of water that has, in its entirity, changed direction. It's silently moving not from left to right of scene, but from right back to left.
Slide 7: The water, receding. The high tide, passed. Wavelets, shrunk, to the size of fingertips. Rippling fingertips, playing along the ridged surface of the seawall. And fine, tiny, sharp sounds too. Of vegetation. Popping and drying in this new air. What's opened up again is the wide soundscape of this place. this panoramic tidal place. So vast and empty. Under an ink black sky. With the warm glow of a ship's engine. Docked, far right of scene, at the terminal in Burnham-on-Crouch. Sometimes heard to the keen ear, at this distance only ever fleetingly, are the night patrolling curlews.
* We made this recording several years ago in August. A night when heavy rain and squally weather fronts were moving inland from the North Sea. This audio has waited on a hard drive to have its day. We hope you enjoy listening to these scenes of the changing tide. The scenes are taken from a four hour segment which are presented in sequence, to portray the dramatic changes in the soundscape heard from the same point on the seawall.
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