I went on a walk today.
Well, two walks. But they were both the same. Along the New River, loop around the reservoir at Woodberry Wetlands and then back along the New River. About half an hour later, I did it again. New River, Woodberry Wetlands, New River.
It’s a nice walk.
The first time I did the walk, I recorded the sounds I could hear on a little handheld recorder. The second time I did the walk, I listened to the recording from the first time.
It was a strange experience. Like if you are watching a video on YouTube and the sound is slightly out of sync, but it was real life.
Along the walk, there are certain audio markers that tell you where you are – gates to open, roads to cross. At first, I encountered these at roughly the same time as the recording but then they started to slip. The first time I was walking slower, trying to keep a steady pace, not wanting to stumble or for the change in my pocket to make a sound.
The second time I didn’t need to worry about this. It was more natural. More than natural. Supernatural. I was surrounded by ghosts. The ghosts from the earlier walk. I’d hear the footsteps of an invisible jogger approach and then pass me. I could hear my own footsteps but when I stopped walking, the footsteps would continue. The voice of a child pointing out a duck to his dad, except there was no child or dad or duck. Cars that had reached their destination would pass me. I overheard fragments of conversations that were already over. I passed a playground and small football pitch; the kickabout had ended and yet I heard a ball hit the metal goalposts.
I’m not sure why I did it but I think I have a new hobby.