Wednesday May 1, 2019 7 30 am
My first view of the new duck family. As I approached the boat launch ramp, mama was sleeping quietly. Eleven babies were wide awake!
Friday, May 3, 2019, 7 am, 56 degrees
Soft sunlight glows through dense cloud cover. The air is chilled and heavy with moisture.
I hear Canada Geese honking while swimming in the American River as I arrive at Fair Oaks Bridge. The geese fly across the river calling to each other, land on the riverbank nearest the entrance to the bridge. They rise again to settle back down into the river, now joined by another pair of noisy Canada Geese. I notice that all the spider webs have been torn apart by the wind. I walk downhill to the boat launch ramp.
The bike path and driveway in front of the ramp are the center of this mornings’ activity.
A squirrel dashes across the trail, while the resident rooster patrols the street. The rooster walks beside me at first then wanders the dirt alongside the pavement. As I walk toward the boat launch ramp, it rushes to stand beside me. His feet scratch the pavement and feathers swish. As I watch the wildlife at this intersection of driveway and bicycle trail, the rooster continues to shout to no one in particular, over and over again.
Three ducks waddle down the center of the bicycle trail. Two Canada Geese wander in the dirt alongside. As I return to Fair Oaks Bridge. I watch one Canada Goose sit at the top enjoying a sweeping view of the river.
Thursday, May 9, 2019 630 am 56 degrees
Cloudy, light breeze, air is heavy with moisture. A chilly morning. Roosters are on patrol at Fair Oaks Village calling good morning. A few cyclists pass by as I stand on the bridge. A handful of walkers also out early. Rivers moves slowly downstream with very few ripples. Two Canada Geese wander the riverbank searching for breakfast.
I hear the chorus of birds singing in nearby trees. Dozens of them circle around and under the bridge. Down at the boat launch ramp, the lonely rooster calls. He sees me coming and quickly catches up to where I am walking. A single duck quacks in the distance. No other wildlife have emerged from nighttime hiding places yet.
Sunday, May 26, 2019 7 am
So many quiet mornings I see no wildlife flying in, swimming or diving. The river flows swiftly and deep. I need to look for other ways to tell the story of this beautiful place hidden away from busy urban spaces.
I feel grateful standing under partially cloudy skies and experiencing magnificent scenic views of the American River corridor even when the river seems empty. I see a brilliant ball of sunlight shining through clouds – and sometimes see no sun at all.
During many recent mornings, I have crossed Fair Oaks Bridge, walked the trail along the American River Parkway, and from Bannister Park to Jim’s Bridge (crossing the river farther east). My goal has been to experience the open space and the calm of the morning when few others are outside. I enjoy the cool wind against my face, the bird songs and the lonely roosters calling out to anyone who can hear.
I feel grateful for the variety of trees in all their twisted shapes and sizes, sweet bird songs, green grasses and leaves. I feel grateful for the pale green moss that hugs tree trunks along the river trail. I notice weeds spreading everywhere boasting their own spiny purple flowers. I wonder when will the goats return to eat these weeds?
I walk on river rocks that line the trails – large, small, smooth round, jagged, curved and straight. I listen to the haunting call of a morning dove, the twitters and caws of other birds hidden in the trees that surround me. I enjoy the gentle curves and slopes of the dirt trail enclosed in greenery to create a walk with character, interest and a bit of mystery.
I stop to enjoy the abundant clusters of deep green leaves growing on mature oak trees. I marvel at the expansive oak tree canopy stretching its curving branches away from its central trunk as they reach for sunlight. I stand upon the edge of the trail and see deep pockets of green foliage set into a canyon.
I see trails crisscross leading deep into the parkway – some trails lead to the river, others to hidden concrete structures overgrown with ivy and often missed, secret picnic alcoves and islands where waterfowl rest and play. One day I found a small amphitheater long ago forgotten.
I feel grateful for patches of poppies yet to wake at dawn and the brightness of other wildflowers that live with them. I feel grateful to enjoy such beauty any morning, afternoon or evening I walk.