It’s Friday 5:30 AM, on my way to 6 AM yoga. This morning I am met with a damp chill and sweet smelling air filled with birdsong. Over my shoulder I nod a good morning to the lake, still and barely awake. A white feather floats down before me as I cross the street. I reach in my pocket and feel something crunchy. I’m surprised by a handful of leaves, once beautiful examples to look up in my tree guide, now a crumble of crunch. I have to smile. My 4-year-old self leads the way on walks these days!

Two dog friends play in the playground as usual– climbing up slides, jumping off ledges, snuffling around in the bushes. I want to join in! Another dog seems unsettled at having to pass me on the sidewalk. Am I some horrible thorn bush, boulder or wild boar in the way? She glances up at her owner, looking for reassurance like a small child. I speak softly, “It’s Ok sweet one, not to worry.” She looks up, woofing a little worried question.

Two crows call from high in the branches of a silver maple then swoop down to argue, face to squawking face. A tiny white-tailed bunny hops away from the cacophony into tall grasses while, across the street, a middle-aged man with short dark hair runs by in a chic black outfit. I just love this man running,  like a Monty Python character– pumping his arms, spine erect and strong, with energy sparking off each of his limbs!

Walking home after class, I am intrigued by a building I never noticed before and a bright turquoise pick-up truck, an antique, with yellow ladder sticking out the back reminiscent of a William Eggleston photograph. Along the lake I walk through Clark Square Park, hoping to see deer grazing on dandelions as I once did. No deer, but do I hear music? The trees remind me of ladies exuding unique personalities with their leafy dresses. Fancy ladies, high heeled and perfectly proportioned from top to bottom, young moms with flowing branches catching all the loose ends, flexible as my yoga guru, the graceful pink blossomed dogwood– like a confident middle-aged woman speaking her mind, and the older woman, mottled, worn, barely half-leafed, but standing solid adding her strength to the landscape.

There is music! Resonant chords cheerfully hug me like a circus clown. Closer and it’s folk music under a bridge in Paris while dancers swing and step as they have for hundreds of years. A young blond woman sits, accordion singing in her lap. Perhaps she snuck out, leaving sleeping children and a cozy husband to grab a few private moments with her beloved accordion. Stealing time to play, remembering the old tunes of her country. Or maybe she is just playing for the sake of playing. We smile. My playful morning walk and her playful tunes follow me home.

© Susan Caruso and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2011