Sound. Sound becomes more present in the silence and solitude of the mountains. Whereas in my first week the picturesque sights and fragrant smells of nature become more noticeable, now in my second week sound is becoming more apparent; perhaps because as a quiet and soft-spoken person from a noisy city I react more to noise and sound, or perhaps because as a music-junkie with a songwriter mentality I have started writing and recording, or perhaps because in this still and isolated environment sound becomes more highlighted amongst complete silence — what a paradox. Sound cannot be escaped.
Tribal ghosts: thumping and thudding and a bizarre honk or howl is heard in the bushes at night, from either a kangaroo or a deer, which is supposedly rare this high up. The birds here instead of whistling pleasantly, crow desperately. Throughout the week the other artist in residents, the director, and I sit together to share a communal meal, watch a dull Romantic Old-Western-type Australian film set in the mountains, and drive roughly through dizzying curves to go on a rocky walking trail. For better or for worse, I have a knack of fixating uncomfortably on the cacophonies, like the chatter and the chewing smacking sounds of food during the film viewing and the drive, such as gum, candy, corn on the cob, watermelon, apples, granola, lettuce. There is a term for this aversion but I do not have internet access to look it up. This sensitivity to sound is a blessing or a curse, rather intolerable at times to be honest, but it is part of having a good ear, and I suppose sound cannot be escaped.
Delving into confessional and existential writings during my time here also makes me wonder amongst all these small interactions how everybody else connects so easily, while I secretly wallow in my little moments of depression and alienation. After almost three weeks away, I slightly start feeling a bit homesick. One morning though in a philosophical conversation Madelynne and I talked about the importance of dialogue and community. There is also a bit of bonding when talking about David Bowie, The Cure, and The Creatures while listening to one of my favourite records: ‘Kaleidoscope’ by Siouxsie and the Banshees, which was lying around in the school. I realise I have to be alone to record and expose these secretive feelings of longing, which I find ironic. Sound, art, and retreats in nature all have healing properties however, which is a prospect that habitually keeps me going. So I continue working and listening, taking little breaks outside in nature, to appease my longing and phantasms of hope, as inner sound cannot be escaped.
Sunday we take an afternoon trip to the top of Falls Creek. As we head back to the car we are only led by moonlight. The strangest feeling is to be standing at what feels like the highest top of the world with no one else around, with almost no sound save the crunching sound of footsteps and the incessant buzzing sound of flies which eventually lessens by nightfall, with a soft and serene sunset and a full moon like that of a Rousseau painting, with large mossy rocks emerging from neon green pastures and all-white bare snow gum trees covering expansive areas, which are all another reason to be grateful to be alive.