Rain is Gone and Suddenly the Weather Turns Warm!

Friday March 10, 2017 645 am 51 degrees

The rain gone – suddenly the morning is warm. Too warm!

The American River is as calm as it can be. I see few cyclists or walkers. The pigeons dance in circles overhead, to land on the bridge’s overhead frame. Two ducks swim and dive. Another follows. Roosters gather to sing throughout Fair Oaks Village. The warm temperature wakes them early.

Pigeons gather to eat bits of pastry left on the deck. They peek at crumbs and quickly fly back to their station. The tiniest hint of a breeze or movement is their signal to fly away. Moments later, they return in mass and take to the air almost as soon as they land. Pigeons land on the deck to eat, fly away, eat, fly away over and over again. With a loud flutter of wings, a group of a dozen pigeons fly off at one time and settle again on the rails and bridge frame. What could they be thinking? Sensing the slightest movements, they all fly away.

Birds chatter like machine gun fire. A lone goose arrives honking and flies under the bridge, as if speeding through a red light. An Egret flies in to the southwest bank. Their usual spot on the riverbank eroded away from the storm. If Egrets arrive at all, they gather to eat and rest on a sandbar some 50 yards to the west. A spot they may need to share with human visitors. Today I see several of them stand guard and fly in circles to an unseen hiding place.

The END sign is gone – floated away to some other end on the river. A dozen uniformed cyclists rumble by. A pair of Egrets fly under the bridge from the west. They split at the boat launch ramp. They fly too quickly to photograph.


Butterfly at Rest

Sunday, April 9, 1150 am

Beautiful spring day! Far too late for an early morning write.

I walk down to the boat ramp where two men prepare to go kayaking. One kayaker was the expert and the other a novice taking a lot of instruction.

Canada Goose, boat launch ramp, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks Bridge
A lone Canada goose watches and waits

Two mallards swim in. One Canada Goose joins the swim. They all stay near the riverbank.One Canada Goose stands alone at the end of the boat ramp. The water is near still, gentle motion and a clear brilliant green. Pigeons visit the river. No Egret. No Great Blue Heron. No seagulls. Lots of cyclists and walkers are out on the river. Yesterday morning it was pouring rain. Friday we had a flash flood. Today it is a beautiful spring day with puffy white clouds.

 Two months ago, this ramp was under five feet of water and invisible. A stretch of pavement that abruptly ended in water was the only indication that a ramp was there.

The butterfly’s tiny legs grip the plant

I found a butterfly on the ground as I walked to the bridge. I picked it up and threw it into the air, thinking it needed a boost to get it going. The butterfly fell back to the ground. It lay flat with barely any movement except a little leg kicking. I carefully placed it on the stalk of a plant and it grabbed hold. I thought it may be in its final hours of life. I stood and watched it clinging to the plant. The wind blew gently against its wing. I gently moved the plant. The butterfly adjusts its legs to hold on. Still sits motionless. People pass by and no one wonders what I am looking at. I wonder if butterflies sleep?

butterfly, American River Parkway, river, Fair Oaks Bridge
Underside of the butterfly reveals its yellow spot color pattern

The American River Parkway is filled with butterflies, flying from one plant to another. This one is no longer flying. A butterfly’s life is very short. Sometimes only a few weeks. By placing the butterfly among the plants, I hope it can rest peacefully here instead of being crushed by footsteps.

River of Emptiness – After the Flood

Saturday April 22, 2017 8 am

During my morning walk, I hear birds greeting the day as they sing hidden in trees lining Fair Oaks Village and nearby streets. A few chickens greet me, still emerging from their evening hiding places in trees and under shrubs.

tree, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, flooding, water, emptinessSun is high in the sky. Dawn arrives before 6 am on these spring mornings. The sun is already over the horizon to light the morning. Thin, scattered clouds streak the sky. The green water is calmly moving downstream. Sunlight sparkles on the water. As I stand on the bridge, I hear the deep throated cooing from unseen pigeons. The river is empty. Not even one duck is out swimming this morning. All the homes, hiding places, ridges and islands for wildlife to settle on are overrun with water. The river runs high again today and so many once dry places are still flooded.

One tree with roots exposed stands as a marker to the constantly changing water level. During the peak of winter storms, the tall, thin tree was completely surrounded by water, sitting as an island several feet from the water’s edge. Today as in many recent days past, it hugs the eroded shore, roots exposed.Read more