When you step through the doors, the conductor has already raised the baton. The music begins pianissimo, so quiet that one might miss it completely. It starts with footsteps, the grit under your shoes breaking the rhythm when you don’t keep pace. You pick it up gently with the beat of your breath, strong and steady as it rises and falls like the hills.
This is a new song. It feels familiar like an old friend, but you’ve forgotten all the parts. A fermata—a pause for you to tune in—and then you hear them, the harmonies layered one by one. The sections of the orchestra are all there. The leaves vibrate at the soft touch of the breeze. Chickadees sing out, a staccato call and response between the trees. A register below, the crows perch low on the power lines like black notes on a staff.
Some of the players are unexpected. The steady hum of traffic a few blocks away is a bass line beneath the melody. It fades briefly behind the water running allegro in the storm drain as you pass. Even the road crew is counted in, striking and scraping stone in time. And every sound is noteworthy.
And every sound is noteworthy.
They rise to a crescendo and the music surrounds you while the neighbourhood slowly rises. It awakens house by house, the inhabitants unknowingly becoming both audience and performers as they stir and spill into the day. You reluctantly reach your destination and the silence is deafening when you shut the door behind you. Outside, the conductor smiles secretly as the composition continues.