River in Shadow

Tuesday August 8, 2017            745 pm 90 degrees

The air feels like the end of a warm day – and it is!

Chickens are calling to each other from the Fair Oaks Village. Some hide in trees. Others patrol the streets and Village Park. A few visitors come to walk on Fair Oaks Bridge. A few stop to admire the view. A boater lifts his boat out of the water, ready to leave the river. As I walk on the bridge, six Canada Geese fly swiftly overhead in their traditional “V” formation. A salmon (presumably) leaps up and out of the water three times. I see only a splash in place of the creature that created the effect.

American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, evening, shadows, twilight, water reflection
Shadows on the American River at twilight

As the sky darkens with the sunset, no sunlight casts glare down in the water. The river sits in shadows and its colors change to a rich, deep green – similar to that of deep green trees. Since the river is in full shadow, this color is not reflective of trees lining the riverbank.

Common in the evening, I see drunken young men and women staggering across the bridge. Today a very loud and rowdy skateboarder crossed the bridge several times uttering language that only the most rowdy care enjoying hearing it.

Trees hang on to the riverbank exposing their roots



Water is still tonight. The darkening sky is now tinged with a hazy, gray stripe stretching across the horizon. I watch four silent ducks swim and disappear under the bridge. Minutes later they have turned around and swimming back from where they came. A cool, gentle breeze blows against my face. The air is cooling off after the sun drops below the horizon. Sky is still void of cloud cover. In the deepening shadows of a long evening turning to dark night, I can see a long gray layer hanging over Sacramento to the west.

I am fascinated by trees with their tangled roots fully exposed on the riverbank, still clinging to fragments of soil as they continue to flourish.

The only sound I hear is the wind. Not a bird in the sky. My evening calm is rudely interrupted by the sounds of revving a distant car engine. Then I look out into the water and it is hard to tell. Is it the head of a river otter swimming by? Too small to be a duck. Salmon do not swim with their heads above water. Distant quacks sound in the warm evening air.

More people arrive, watching slowly and silently. As the sky darkens, the water loses it color and trans darker on the west side of the Fair Oaks Bridge. On the east side, the sun still reflects light, casting long shadows of trees along the shore.

boat, American River, twilight, fishing
Fishing at twilight on the American River at Fair Oaks Bridge

One last boater is in the water. Lights on and equipment ready. Two twinkling lights let people know he is still there. The air still warm. Now almost too dark to see any shapes in the water. Everything is slowly changing to shadows. I walk back to my car while there is still some daylight.