Winter Chill Lingers

Sunday, March 5, 2017    7 am    43 degrees

A gentle breeze blows to chill the air on this very quiet morning. The temperature apparently too cold for the chickens to wake up.

Only a few chickens are awake this morning after last night’s drizzly rain. Birds are twittering. Water remains on the streets.                   Blue gray clouds blanket the sky with faint differences in shades of gray.

Fair Oaks Bridge, boat launch ramp, boat, American RiverThe bridge is dry, showing no sign of last night’s storm. Standing on the bridge I see the fully exposed boat launch ramp and mound of mud now worn smooth from falling rain. Soon all traces of flooding on the boat ramp and parking lot behind will be washed away. The American River moves quietly downstream with very few ripples returning to its pre-rain state.

The yellow “END” sign is still stuck fast alongside the muddy riverbank in a tangle of branches. A large red reflector attached to the sign post is now visible. I wonder if this is the end of the sign’s journey down river?

Looking west to the bicycle/pedestrian bridge, I see the water level has dropped several feet below its lower edge. From a distance, it looks like one person is walking across. I see no orange barriers at either end.

Fair Oaks Bridge is washed clean once again. Spider webs I admired on Friday washed away in the rain.  Not even bits of trash, cans or cups litter the deck this morning. Green grass continues to flourish, growing in clumps between each deck board.

Between the rain and the chill, the wildlife have yet to come out. In the fall, ducks played in the gentle rain as if it was not there. Now, they hide in bushes, keeping warm and guarding nests.

I see the flutter of pearly white wings approaching and recognize their long, sleek bodies as Egrets. They fly over the bridge and continue their journey west. Unlike the Canada Geese I hear hundreds of yards away, the Egrets make no sound at all.

ducks, dive, disappear, American River, Fair Oaks BridgeFew people are out walking yet. Too cold? Too early? Even in my warm gloves, my hands are chilled. The sun and its warmth is blocked by cloud cover. Brightness in the sky is no hint where the sun is actually sitting. Two ducks appear. I watch them swim across the river, dive underwater and disappear. They surface 10 yards upriver to dive again. Aside from the twitter of birds unseen in nearby trees, all is quiet at the river. Three walkers approach me. As my fingers grow colder and the chilled breeze quickens, I decide it is time to go home and warm up.