Say those two words aloud and your mind conjures up images with a soundtrack to accompany them. Festivals, ten-gallon hats, guitars, Stevie Ray. Austin means music. From bars to back yards, and concert halls to street corners. Any time of night or day, someone’s playing somewhere, and somebody is listening. Two-stepping. Swaying in a chair. Raising a hand. Passing the hat.
But take a walk on a Saturday morning in August, along the river that runs through the heart of Austin, and you’ll hear music in a different key. The base line played by the river itself, as it flows past smiling dogs, running teams, and friends meeting up for a stroll along the Butler hike and bike trail that loops around Lady Bird Lake.
Melody sung clear and true by rowing shells knifing through water with barely a ripple.
Harmonies picked up by fishing lines spinning toward the shallows and a rainbow of kayaks and paddle boards, with bridges adding counterpoint, connecting the river’s banks.
You are in a community while you’re at the river, linked by a physical and spiritual need for nature in the middle of the city. A friend meets you on the bridge, the runners call out in passing, and yes, that dog just smiled at you.
Stop by some Saturday morning. Listen closely and you’ll hear those notes: the river is singing your song.