Friday, September 22, 2017            635 am   55 degrees

Not a single chicken in sight when drive into Fair Oaks Village. Yet the morning symphony is as loud and as long as ever.

morning, rituals, Fair Oaks, chickens, Fair Oaks Bridge

The songs of Fair Oaks Chickens are my favorite way to start the day – far better than a wake me up beverage!

Today is a cool morning! It is only 55 degrees. I wonder if the cool temperatures wake them earlier and inspire them to begin calling each other.

The brutal 100-degree days of summer are behind us. What a change from two weeks ago when morning temperature had not dropped below 72 degrees at 630 am. I wear a light jacket and jeans. For the first time, my hands feel chilled in the moist morning air.

Loosely scattered clouds define this morning’s sunrise. I missed yesterday’s fiery orange sunrise behind a dense cloud cover and hoped for a repeat. Not today. I watched yesterday’s sunrise from afar as the brilliant yellow ball emerged from the clouds a full 45 minutes after the first glow rose from the horizon.

Fair Oaks Bridge is one of few places where I can find joy when my days are filled with too much drama. I always hope others can find peace in sharing these morning walks on the bridge and the river’s edge.

fishing boats, fisherman, salmon, American River, rituals, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings,My first sight at the bridge is the line up of eight boats stationed in their places on the American River. A part of four Mallards swim past the boats, ignoring them altogether. More than 40 pigeons circle the bridge a few times and then settle on the overhead frame.

As I stand and watch the sunrise, I spy a Great Blue Heron fly in and land on the boat launch ramp located on the south shore. I remember from last fall, the ramp is the heron’s first stop at this part of the river. It stands and watches the sky, pondering its next move. With a chortle, this enormous bird rises up and flies to the north shore. The Great Blue Heron leaves the shore after a few minutes of walking gingerly along the riverbank. Its next stop is the river’s edge almost directly under the bridge, where it continues to patrol and go out of sight.

This is the morning ritual repeated each time this magnificent bird appears. I need to focus my attention on the Great Blue Heron as it moves. At a distance, the color of its body blends into the background and I lose sight.

rituals, ducks, Mallards, morning, Fair Oaks Bridge, American RiverI spied an Egret on the boat launch ramp. Then it walked along the shore. I arrived at the ramp in time to watch it rise, spread its wings and slowly, gracefully fly away into the western sky. A single goose and two ducks approach me, anticipating breakfast is coming. None comes. They quickly swim away. More ducks fly in and settle on the river to begin morning rituals.

Standing on the boat ramp, I watch a dozen cyclists rumble across the bridge causing dozens of pigeons to rise and fly away instantly and settle again once the crisis of noise has passed.

Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, morning, rituals, fisherman, fishing boatsSome fishermen arrive before dawn and leave soon after sunrise. Others stay and bring their breakfast on board; enjoying morning hours on the river waiting for salmon to bite.

I have seen men cooking on portable barbecues as I stand above them on the bridge. The owner of the boat pictured on the ramp cleaned his salmon at the river’s edge before bringing the boat up to the ramp.