When on urbex tour, all my senses are heightened, and I’m careful in every direction; every sudden noise gets its attention. But such noises are not the exception, but rather the rule.
First of all: there’s water. In fact, there is always water: it drips, it ripples, it flows down from walls, it creates puddles or even frozen surfaces and icicles – depending on season. It floods basements and engine rooms and bunkers. It may produce frost flowers on blind windows, it’s able to burst desolate walls, it swells out the parquet. It is responsible for mould and I wasn’t aware that there are so many variations of mould – nearly invisible, colorful, in different shades of grey up to an ebony fur. And with the mould comes the characteristic smell, this “Touch of lost place”, nameless and obvious.
In a lost place, the sound of water is usually everywhere – and even in the shoes.
Then there’s wind: don’t underestimate, it can produce really strange noises: blinds hitting their walls, creaking doors, dancing leaves in autumn and breaking branches when stormy… wind through broken windows, old fireplaces, open doors. Did you ever walk through an abandoned old railway tunnel? Hundreds of meters, perhaps thousands – dripping water, your own steps and the wind itself which whizzes around the ears as your only companions? That’s the loneliest noise in the world.
A building also produces its own noises, especially when shortly before collapsing; rotting timber, tilting walls, warping steel – usually sudden and exorbitant noisy. It’s often not simple to locate the source, and the greater the proportions – just imagine a really huge factory hall – the scarier can be the sound.
And even real silence can be deafening. This rare moments of perfection, when the sun is burning from a bright blue sky, the bees hum, the birds sing and the colours break your heart. When you’re completely with yourself, sitting in a jungle formerly known as exactly cultivated garden and hearing a snail eating a dandelion leave and time stands still.
A lost place is never quiet, and this can be exhausting. But I always fear “this one could be the last one” as it is so very special for me.