Park Benches in the Morning

There is much to be said for sitting at benches as dawn fades. Each morning, before my day truly begins, I make it my duty to wander, find such a bench, sit, think, read. If lucky, the bench might creek under the weight of its age as I take a seat, resting weary morning legs that haven’t quite woken up just yet. I place my bag, if I happen to have one, on the bench too and then recline, sit back deeply and allow myself to be held by balanced wooden beams, two or three inches thick. Resting an arm where appropriate and breathing in the chill, light, air of morning my mind is washed with a watercolour blue –  a backdrop begins to develop for images that waft and drift and settle on the page of my mind. Maybe about my feet, a pigeon is strutting, its head bobbing to and fro; also enjoying the slow emergence of the crisp dawn, I imagine. Or perhaps he’s just lighted upon some sizeable crumbs for breakfast. The few people present in the park, whether sitting or walking a dog or merely passing through, must all be struck by the same thought at least once, albeit in differing forms: ‘oh how it is wonderful to be able to sit in this park and paint myself into this portrait of morning’, ‘oh how romantically the birds do chirp’, ‘oh how I am glad the sun is not obstructed by some sinister cloud’, ‘oh how gently the wind caresses the leaves and I’, ‘oh how I wish this could be the permanent state of the day, even if it meant its novelty were to be diminished’, ‘oh how tremendous it is to sit and be’. I stay on the bench and observe, drinking in the morning and grieving its transcendence as it gives way to warmer air and the coming of the unveiled day, until I am satisfied and no longer thirsty for the clarity it seems only sitting at park benches in the stillness of morning can provide. Then I depart, rejuvenated and expectant.

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