• Rhiannon Naomi

Less vibration: More connection

As the days of the Lockdown in Wales roll along, the public have remarked upon their increased sensory awareness with accounts of louder birdsong, the smell of the spring air and sightings of inanimate objects in familiar surroundings otherwise unnoticed for years. I can report that I share these experiences and have felt some brief excitement in the moment on discovering what seemed to be something new and curious. My lockdown location is a first floor flat in a small seaside town, with just a fire escape to enjoy the outdoors in-between essential shopping trips on foot and very relaxing exercise outings on the beach. However, my eyes have discovered buildings, rooms, windows, signs, corners and plants that I hadn’t noticed when the town was bustling with visitors and cars flowing through the streets. I’ve asked myself “is this because I am currently not distracted at eye-level by objects that are constantly in flux and that my ears are not processing and responding to all the sounds that accompany human activity?” Or is it that my mind is quieter and there is space for new things? Whereas before lockdown I would play music in headphones when out and about so as to create my own bubble amongst the visitors, I now find I relish the tranquil shores and the natural sounds of the environment. Today, on ‘Day-whatever-it-is’, this restores my soul more than ever. As I pondered on the changes, recent research by seismologists caught my attention. Experts explained that less noise means that smaller (seismic) events can be detected. Graphs charting human noise are evidence that people are listening to authorities’ warnings to “stay at home” and minimize outdoor activity. Without the normal levels of rumbling cars, buses, trams, trains and planes together with human feet tromping along the ground, our planet vibrates a little less. My increased sensory awareness might be explained in part by the quiet streets I now stroll, but also in a less obvious way by a reduction in ambient vibration, something special we might never have experienced without Lockdown. Having understood about the geological effects of global Lockdown on Earth, I connected even more with the ground I was walking sparingly upon, I resonated both physically and mentally, aware that this is a brief and unique respite for us, before the world surges into what humankind believes to be necessary recovery and progress.

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