I created a voice of silence – Lyon in my mind

I created a voice of silence, one where I could grow.

There is no need for sacredness in my home; there is no need to wait, for my heavy feet prostrate, begging for sleep. I stand alone- there are no need for words, enough has been said about the dreadful heat and the walks around the city, which did not include ice cream.

My tongue waits inside, fostering saliva as a lonely guide.

There is no need for anything as I lose my mind. Finding reasons to pay attention to all the things I cannot buy and do not desire. Yet they take my mind for hire, it wants to touch. To have a placemat that induces an aroma of smell. I want to rest in air-conditioned space that does not include swarms of people, or merchandise that has no taste. That is the narrowness of my scale, a postured frustration.

A blissful breeze calms me to the centre of my needs and wants. All my sensory decisions stay within my gaze. My heavy feet carry me, patiently praying to the ground, creating a gentle thumping sound.

I stay behind the crowd. The smell of summer is a densely airy one. A fragrance that is simultaneously sweet but foraged with sweat and polluting fumes. A fountain of wills speed past us; they are walking with the determination of a skilled hunter, viewing the city enough to capture it through a lens. We walk through a corridor, darkness swarms and the heat falls. Walking around the courtyard, like soldiers in training, we march along the wall, like cobwebs hidden in plain sight. I see no spiders only their remains, this is their playground and we are the rude guests that invade their quarters without a knock or invite. My feet beg to be still, the silence of mind is making me ill, begging for solitude or rest, we continue walking, today has not given a second of rest. My mind wonders alone, my body surrounded by the burning heat and all those who infest to feel its wonder and bow down in defeat.

A sign that says Merci de respecter la tranquillite des habitant. De cette traboule en la traversant en silence.

There is a marble throne. A goddess, who holds an oceanic feast, riding a turtle with a delicate wave and monstrous gaze in a window, that is fairy-tale of imaginative beliefs. There lives a unicorn with a grace-like flow, its body unknown, its mane tussled with intricate care. I wonder who works here. The cobbled streets hold begging men asking for a flame. A human friend offers him a flame; the light awakes. They walk away not giving each other another glance.

Humans bent at the knee, outside the stores are ignored, you must stand to be seen, perhaps have pale skin or a deserving gaze, in this heat. We walk past, our silence giving us freedom from the stare, how do we live here? How do we turn away? We find solace in our air-conditioned rooms and forget all those desperate to stay awake.

We continue to walk through the corridors and alleys, that are made for the breeze to pass and thankfully, there are no cars. They are a humming noise in a far off place, where the sun hits you directly and there is no place to escape. My mind buzzes with the same tune, a glittering song, made from the heat fumes. A fox stuffed by a taxidermist is placed beneath a table of mint; I smell the mint and chew the rest. I have tired feet and an even heavier bladder, but the silence of my mind, need not tatter or run for the walk is nearly over. I take off my shoes and bend my back, finding a place where the silence of my mind can stay intact. A place where the sun does not sit and my hand can roam freely and speak, although my body is weak. My mind lives to breathe.

They move out of sight. I pick up my pen and take the silence of mind to the paper.

The smell of the heat and the glitter of the marble streets, fuelled carriers for overpriced artistic delights is what Lyon is in my mind.

CREOLE program participants outside at the old town of Lyon, France listening to instructions for sensory walk.

Day Moibi, (University of Bern) is a master’s student who took part in CREOLE Intensive Program / SENSOTRA seminar ‘Anthropology and/as mediation(s)’ in Lyon, France in June 2019. The text is written after a group sensory walk in Lyon.

Pictures from Lyon’s group sensory walk: Helmi Järviluoma