My morning runs follow a familiar formula. Down a few blocks, along the river, over the long Eleanor Schonell bridge, along the Corso near the university. A few kilometres, and then home again.
I’m not a fast runner, but I am a semi-regular one, so I’ve gotten a habitual lay of the land. I recognise some of the hordes of cyclists in their fluorescent jerseys, dog owners, fellow runners, the patterns of the sleepy suburb as it rises to the day.
Over the last week or two, though, there’s been a different sort of scene taking place. A middle-aged man, sitting on the bench near the river, playing a French Horn. He looks like he’s just taken a detour on his way to work, in his button-down and black dress pants. He’s both conspicuously obvious and subtly blended into the morning scene.
People often occupy this bench near the river; it’s a beautiful place to watch the sun come up as the rowers glide past. This man is no different, except he sits and plays, a gentle contribution to the scene with his music.
I don’t recognise everything he plays, but as I labor my way up the next hill, the strains of Ave Maria float behind me.
It seems like a morning meditation, a private communion between him, the river and the music swirling around him.
I want to stop, to talk to him, ask him who he plays with and explain that I too, am a musician, and how did he come to sit on this bench and play his horn? But it seems intrusive. It seem like walking into someone’s reverie, the disruption of a prayer. It’s a moment that I, the lycra-clad cyclists, the rowers, the dog-walkers, are all privileged to witness.
Little moments, mysteries like these, are just stunning in their sincerity.