When Fawny walks alone, and she walks alone often, she keeps the river on her left and the levee on her right, so she won’t get lost. But on this day when the levee curves at the bend near the university, she wanders into a stand of cottonwood trees and passes through an invisible curtain and finds herself on a downward slope lined with berry vines and fennel, burgeoning conifers and bird chatter. The opening strains of the Blue Danube work their way into her consciousness, softly at first, slowly, just strings, then woodwinds, finally brass as the tempo quickens and the road widens and descends, and she sees them below her, a full formal orchestra, men in black tuxes, women in black gowns. Drums and timpani sound so cheerful, she feels no trepidation approaching, though it is certainly a surprise to see this grouping, their focus singular, their movements synchronized. The river rushes behind them, as if honored by their choice of composition, and for a moment, Fawni wonders if she had been transported to western Europe, but no, she sees it is her own family, her own friends sitting in the musicians’ chairs. Gathered too are our own local phoebes, flickers, acorn woodpeckers, scrub jays, mourning doves, spotted towhees, juncos, quails, robins, all rapt in the trees and bushes, surrounding the performance, surrounding Fawni too, drawing her in. She realizes she is seated with a flute in her hands, held at her lips, and she is one with the orchestra, playing along. Neither central nor fringe, she experiences herself as whole. Her breath is forming the melody, creating harmony, inhale, exhale. She drifts upward now, slipping into the air, vibrating to create music, to be music, to live as breath, as joy, as one with the energy.
Photo by Joonas Sild on Unsplash