September 11, 2017 620 am 72 degrees
Enjoying the serenity of the morning on Fair Oaks Bridge, I am very conscious of the time and place – on this anniversary day of the disaster that rocked the country to its core.
I arrive at Fair Oaks Bridge with the morning light still in shadows. I hear a single chicken boast his wake up call. A cool breeze blows. The air feels crisp, even at 72 degrees. The sun is emerging. A scattered orange glow of excitement for the new day spreads across the sky.
As tired as I sometimes feel waking up in the morning, the cool air, the scenic views from Fair Oaks Bridge always wake me up. I wake to the sound of enduring and hidden chickens, sight of radiant orange sunrises, and the touch of gentle breezes.
A lone fisherman waits on the river. A second one prepares to launch. Three Canada Geese fly silently high over the bridge heading west. Many walkers are out early this morning. A third boater arrives and launches. A lone chicken continues its solo. A full chorus of birds sing unseen in the distance when the chicken pauses its song.
I see something emerge from the water – a salmon, a otter, a duck, a beaver? Movement is too sudden to get a good look. With the glow of sunrise faded away, deep gray shadows hide morning clouds stretched like spun sugar.
One boater paddles lazily up the river. They watch and wait. This is as it will be through the fall and into December, when the bulk of the salmon run has finally reached the American River spawning grounds. I finally hear the first quack of the morning, although the duck remains unseen. They later swim past me as a group.
These are the mornings I look forward to most. So much joy seeing the interaction of all the wildlife coming together in the morning.
A group of eight Canada Geese fly over the bridge. I hear them honking long before I see them. Quickly they disappear before I can capture their flight in a photo. Birds sing all about me. Two pigeons land on the bridge deck. I turn to see them and in a moment they dash away.
Now the day is bright. The trees and shrubs on the north shore electric! More people are walking about. Cyclists ride by with headlights flashing. Twenty pigeons straddle the huge truss frame of the bridge. A sparrow quickly joins them. I hear birds whistling and Canada Geese flying in a V formation are above my head to disappear as they move south.
Fall is approaching. I wonder what interactions will be next? I will be looking for the gathering of 100 seagulls farther upriver where the salmon spawn. I will be looking for the crowd of hungry turkey vultures hovering in trees waiting for the remains.
As the sun continues to rise above the trees on the eastern shore, another glow appears through the clouds. An airplane draws a jet stream across the clouds. More geese fly in from the west.
My morning here usually ends when the sun appears over distant trees. This morning as I leave the bridge three resident chickens and an abandoned rabbit are collectively searching for breakfast in the trees and shrubs on Bridge Street about 50 yards from the opening of the bridge. The rabbit is often hiding. This trio is out every day scratching to find their morning meal.