Monday, September 18, 625 am 60 degrees
Some mornings hold more “magic” than others. Today is one of those magic mornings.
The air is laden with chill instead of heat. Dense morning clouds hold the bold, vibrant colors of sunrise at the break of dawn. For nearly an hour I watch the colors change as the sun emerges from the horizon. My view from the Fair Oaks Bridge is a full circle of color. The intense, burning oranges and grays in the east spread north and south, fading to white and pale blue in the western sky.
I imagine that walkers, cyclists and fishermen are the ones who seize this opportunity to enjoy this daily display of one of nature’s miracles. Do wildlife enjoy this morning spectacle?
My favorite mornings are those when I listen to a choir of chickens sing still hidden in the trees where they sleep. Without any visible conductor, they call out their good morning songs to one another in rapid succession. As dawn breaks and the day brightens, chickens patrol the park and village streets crowing loudly where ever they go. Some chickens are robust with loud strong “ERR, ERR, ERR, ERR!” The skinnier, smaller chickens sound hoarse. “Er…Er…Er…Er.” It is the smaller chickens that roam Bridge Street trees, plants and curbs scratching for breakfast and repeatedly calling out to no one for about 30 minutes after I arrive on any morning.
One this day, six bicyclists have crossed Fair Oaks Bridge shortly after I arrive. 630 am and the bridge is crowded with people! Morning temperatures are dropping into the 50s and 60s. I wear blue jeans, and a lightweight denim jacket and sneakers. A light breeze blows and I feel the air heavy with chill instead of the heat that roasted the air all summer long.
Three fishing boats are sitting in the river quietly waiting. I have seen one person catch a fish. The salmon are coming. Fisherman catch the early arrivals. Water level of the American River is the lowest I have seen it all year. Could this be because the salmon need the shallow water to spawn?
Pigeons take their stations on the overhead frame. Two of them perch on the outside edge of the bridge, watching the river. None stay for long. The slightest movement, the faintest sound, they fly up and away in an instant. A tiny bird greets me with “Ti Too! Ti Too!” from its place at the top of the bridge.
Where is the Great Blue Heron this morning? I may be too late to see its patrol from the boat launch ramp to the north side and back with a chortle to the south riverbank. Canada Geese are flying high overhead. I imagine they are flying a distance without stopping. Another boat arrives and backs down the ramp. Mallards are still sleeping.
My first time seeing a beaver swimming in the river! I walk to the north side of the bridge to follow it and and see two more! My two photographer friends are here this morning. They point out a man climbing down the near vertical slope of Fair Oaks Bluffs. Why? How? We have no idea.
Two more groups of Canada Geese fly over. Then 30 runners cross the bridge together out for an early morning sprint. The sun finally emerges over the clouds, but the sky remains a flat gray.
As I walk off the bridge, I see my shadow moving through the trees on the north riverbank. This unexpected shadow play lasted about two minutes before the sun changed position and vanished.
Morning temperature rose to 66 degrees. Chickens are still calling “Good morning!”