by Melinda Gallo

Early bird

My grandmother used to often tell me, “The early bird gets the worm.” I always thought it was her way of getting me up early instead of sleeping in. But today, I realized how true that expression really is, and how the best moments occur when you wake up early for them. I was out the door by 7:45am to go for my morning run, which isn’t that early, but it was early enough to reap the benefits. I was startled by how cool the air was since the sun had been up before I was. I thought it had at least an hour or so to warm up the air a little, but that wasn’t the case.

I ran along the Arno toward Ponte San Niccolò without bumping into any large groups as I had been these past two weeks. I wanted to run to the next bridge away from the city, but I felt eager to run across the Ponte Vecchio while it was still empty.

I looked out at the water after Ponte San Niccolò to see that it was so still that I could see a clear reflection of the buildings across fiume (river). When a small boat floated by, the reflection was broken up as if it suddenly became a mosaic instead.

I was overjoyed when I turned right off of via Bardi to run across the Ponte Vecchio. There were a handful of people, but it was still very easy for me to run across without bumping into anyone. I always look over at Cellini and the Ponte Santa Trinita when I get to the opening of the ponte (bridge).

I turned under the Corridoio Vasariano and ran until the end. I was happiest when I got to the small outlet that hovers over the Arno because there wasn’t a single person standing there. I decided to stretch out facing the Ponte Vecchio and was mesmerized by the water in the Arno, which was sparkling yellow and orange. From the Ponte Vecchio to the Arno, all I could see was yellow and orange and a hint of pink.

Those colors early in the morning with the sun warming my back felt like a true gift. I felt as if I was somehow inside the sun, absorbing its power, warmth, and joy. For me, running is a wonderful way to start my day, but I must say that one of the biggest rewards after I’m done running is when I feel as if the city’s energy flows right through me. And my grandmother was right: the early bird does get the worm.

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