Lizard Pushups a Morning Ritual

Thursday, June 22, 2017 710 am   83 degrees

My first view of the American River is watching Canada Geese glide lazily down the river on the current. Water tinted with shades of blues and greens shimmers in the morning sun.

I arrive on my bike at the boat launch ramp minutes after crossing Jim’s Bridge. No clouds visible in the deep blue sky. I throw grapes sliced in half to a duck who sees me tossing them. The duck not only refuses to eat the grapes, it complains about it with a rude quack, as if to say, “Where is the good stuff I can eat?” and waddles away.

lizard, pushups, mallard, feeding time, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, morning, grape, eatThe air is far too warm already. At least I feel a cool breeze on my face. Three other ducks arrive at the ramp and decide eating grapes is okay. Grapes roll down the boat ramp as ducks chase them down. Once the ducks have eaten enough, the grapes sit for a few minutes. Shortly, they begin to gobble up the test. I ride back toward the Fair Oaks Bridge.

Already the sun bakes the morning hours. Twenty tiny birds circle the bridge over and over. They are so tiny, I cannot get a good look at them. No pigeons are out. Ducks and geese take their places to swim elsewhere to find breakfast.

Cyclists are out. So is the man walking his Scotty dogs wearing yellow scarves. Every day they wear a different color. A butterfly flies beside me on the left. Another butterfly crosses my path as I ride on. When I arrive at Rossmoor Bar, the water level has dropped so severely, I can see the sandbars for the first time all year. The rapids are still strong. Yet, the water looks almost right for rafting. Have yet to see anyone float by in a raft this year. A few fishing boats searching for shad patrol the American River nearby the Fair Oaks Bridge.

Lizards crawl up a tree, around and down again. It rests by doing push ups, flexing it legs and watching me. Birds twitter unseen in the oak trees. Riding through the American River Parkway after a rainstorm, everywhere was sparkling green. Now most of the vegetation is dry, gray and weedy. “Dead brown” blankets both sides of the trail. My skin is sticky from the intense heat of the day and I am ready to ride home.