The People's Symphony

symphony - from the Greek 'a sounding together'

Andante at the start - the muted June vibrato: a gathering wind, whispers in the leaves, sneakers scuffling on dirt paths, mothers wheeling babies. The string section begins to swell: high-pitched cicada, thumb-thick honeybees, the plash of water on the Merrimack, voices, far-off, murmuring: Horns flare and woodwinds climb radio whine, crow blare, mockingbird, light breeze through high pine. Tempo rising: picnic blankets, choosing places, a question, a complaint, a quick kiss on the sly - the cork pops, pop bottles hiss, kids screech and scatter - eyes closed, he leans back to rest - stretching, her yellow dress luffs in the wind. Crescendo, the field is filled: sun glint, wind riffs on the grass, bees hover over trumpeting rhododendrons, wet saplings arch and flex. And the gathering voices, the chorus of hundreds: play, tease, gossip, trade news of the day - the brass of laughter, the pizzicato of light tongues, a saturation of sound, a spotlight of sun - and then: a sudden hush, a rush of anticipation, peaked attention, as the orchestra takes the stage. A wave of applause crests and drifts away. For a moment, there is only a slow diminuendo, the last duet: tympany and flute, heartbeat and breath, river and wind. In the quiet, the symphony concludes. And the symphony begins.

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