My soundwalk combines my Chicago childhood with summers spent in Romania— in Constanta where my parents were born and in Bucureşti, the capital. The sound of trains passing and my footsteps weave in and out of these two worlds at Nichols Arboretum. My “Chicago” was produced by Ann Arbor traffic: the rush of cars through State Street and snippets of conversations from passersby. The trickling of the Huron River evoked the roar of Black Sea waves crashing. Leaves crackling beneath my feet and trilling birds reminded me of playing in Parcul Cișmigiu, a park in Bucureşti.
My grandpartents taught me “Somnoroase Pasarele,” “The Sleepy Birds,” by Mihai Eminescu when I was little. The poem describes nighttime rituals in nature: birds settle in their nests, the wind dies down, and sounds become muffled as darkness envelops everything. « Peste-a nopţii feerie/Se ridică mândra lună/Totu-i vis şi armonie /Noapte bună! » roughly translates: « Over the beautiful night/The proud moon rises/ Everything is a dream/Good Night! ». The ethereal quality of evening surrounding all things comes alive for me throughout Ann Arbor, especially in the Arboretum. These words capture my longing for the simplicity of Romania in my walk by the river.