Silence Under an Open Sky – the West Common
This is common land, our land, so take a path to the centre and stand. The silence here is huge, reaching to the wide open sky. There is no protection from wind or rain, you are swept up like a kite to chase the clouds. Air is everywhere, invisible and silent until it encounters you, enters your ears. Here's the rising and setting sun, and other stars, the new and full moon, the Milky Way. No sound but breath-taking.
It's a sweeping space looked upon by dwellings on the escarpment to the north, the blunt end of the cathedral to the east, and anticipates the rural edge of the city with farmed fields to the west. Is there a particular scent to this open space?
At ground level you may find the quiet ridge and furrows and the earthen shapes of the Roman potteries, or small important plants. The horses grazing around you are an earthbound presence too. Do you hear the cheer from the crowd and thunder of hooves past the grandstand to the south? In 1773 the first straight mile race was run, silence after the last race in 1965.
Does it seem there is silence because nothing's happening? The sounds are distanced, held aloft by the vast dome of surrounding, enlivening air. Take a breath of it.