The air is saturated with early morning birdcalls. Thin mist hovers above the river, creeping in and out of shadows, the eeriness of the night dissipating with the fog.
A lady cardinal watches me pass, cheekily following me for a dozen yards. A red winged blackbird chases her mate across the sky above our heads. A bluejay swoops across the path, while a nearby woodpecker raps patiently on the husk of a waterlogged stump, then flits away when he catches me staring.
A heron stands further back, observing both myself and a chattering flock of geese, giggling at a gaggle of gossip. Smaller birds interject cheep talk, and the seagulls swoop out over the glassy, Monet-stained currents, ignoring the lot of us.
As the world awakens around me, I find I vastly prefer this neighborhood to the more prominently concrete one several blocks over. Anxious impatience thrives where stimulus compete, and even seems to flourish among my species, while patient harmony seems to be almost solely for the birds.
A narrow concrete foot bridge spans across a pond, the path littered with dead-eyed minnows, evidence of someone else’s meditative morning ritual. The silvery fish stare up at the clear sky with clouded black eyes. The air is crisp here, but ominously vacant of birdcall, their sweet tones gradually replaced by gaseous, motorized rumblings.
Across the pond, a row of men in hard hats stand in the shade of a crumbling brick building, enjoying either their first or last cigarette of the morning. They’re loitering across from a pack of listless cats (the digging equipment, not the feline), the whole lot of them surrounded by the King of the Concrete Jungle, the semi. Rigs drift in and out of their loading positions, a large, slow, clumsy, mechanical ballet performed in three gears.
The crisp frost that dulled the grass earlier has now been melted into glittering beads of dew by the sun climbing higher into the mid morning sky. As I make my way home, I find peace in knowing that I have found another public spot so close that seems to be all my own.