Can a Chicken be Illegally Parked?

Thursday, May 9, 2019 630 am 56 degrees

chicken, parking, no parking, illegal, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, outdoors, resident, Bridge StreetDuring this exceptionally quiet morning, the most whimsical sight is the resident chicken of Bridge Street illegally parked.

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.

 

 

Listening to the Sounds of Morning

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 7:40 am

Sunlight today is warm. No wind. Scattered white clouds stretch over the eastern sky like thick cotton batting. I stand and listen to the bird greet me with a song from the overhead truss of Fair Oaks Bridge.   I leave the bridge and take the short walk to the boat launch ramp. Five women walk ahead of me. Approaching the boat ramp, I see a family of Canada Geese. The goslings are already nearly full size and the characteristic black strip is growing on their long thin necks.

Canada Geese, boat ramp, American River, wings, river, morning, American RiverBirds twitter and rattle. I stay and watch the water, listen to the resident rooster who lives and patrols the area nearby the ramp. He calls out over and over again. Each time I visit the boat ramp and the rooster sees me, he rushes over to walk by side. He is a sad sight – tail feathers drooping, looking like several are missing. I walk slowly back to the bridge, listening to the sounds of the morning.

Cyclists speed past me and a few more people walk by. When I reach the bridge, I stop. I sit down on the deck and feel far away from the “busyness” of urban life. I sit and watch the glow of sunrise in the water. I watch the graceful flight of an Egret fly west under the bridge until I can no longer see it.

This is the time to settle my body and quiet my mind focus on the present moments at the river. I watch the ripples forming in the water as it moves downstream. Long lines form with soft curves flow downstream under the bridge. The curves bend and form circles and continue to swirl.

More cyclists and more walkers pass by. Some focus straight ahead more intent on their steps than the beauty and peace of the setting they are walking through. Some people are talking on their phones, while others are deep in conversation as they walk.

Mornings reflections looking at Fair Oaks Bluff

A car pulls into the round parking area in front of the boat ramp and stops. It pauses a few moments and then drives away. Many drivers and w visit the boat launch ramp to enjoy the view. I see them sitting still in their cars, not getting out. Just sitting still and looking out the windows. Walkers come and sit on the memorial bench that faces Fair Oaks Bluff. The Bluff is often referred to as the “Crown of the Parkway.” The steep cliffs eroded over millions of year and the sedimentary rock face clearly defines its history.

As I walk off the bridge, I hear the rooster continue to call out looking for a friend. Two Canada Geese paddle slowly through the water to the riverbank.

Gratitude

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.

At times when I have no words, I feel grateful. Voicing my gratitude for the beautiful spring day, warm weather and the beauty that surrounds me inspires the words to flow.

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.

Meditations at the River

Saturday, June 9, 2019

Walking along the American River near Fair Oaks Bridge to write, take photos and share these experiences is as much as a healing journey and a reconnection to nature, as it is a time of quiet observation. The river is my place of peace and joy to share as a gift.
sunrise, morniing, Fair Oaks Bridge, nature, outdoors, writing, peace, beauty,shadows,

This special place at the river…

I believe this sense of peace is a shared feeling for many other visitors who stop on Fair Oaks Bridge to look, reflect and photograph. I see cars park on the road leading to the boat ramp. I see the drivers sit inside and enjoy the scenic views.  I see visitors resting on the bench alongside that road facing Fair Oaks Bluff to admire the view.

I am fascinated by the changing patterns of clouds in the sky, and how they filter the sunlight to create vibrant colors of pinks, blues, gold and flaming orange.

I find joy in watching the rhythm of a duck’s webbed feet paddle underwater. I love watching its body sway back and forth as it walks up the boat ramp.

I breathe easily and breathe in deeply. I listen to the sounds of birds, embrace the sweet scent of flowers in bloom, and feel a cool breeze against my skin.

I think of the salmon’s enduring struggle as they swim upstream to spawn. I watch the antics of wildlife as they try to catch a salmon as it swims past them, They guard their dead salmon as a treasure to assure no one steals their feast.

I reflect on its history – a critical resource close to the heart of California’s Gold Rush. To remember the history of seasonal flooding long before Folsom Dam was ever built. To remember the earliest settlers who established Fair Oaks Agricultural Colony by purchasing small farms. Fair Oaks was one of many emerging farm communities in outlying areas of the City of Sacramento.

I recognize all the people who work tirelessly to manage a wild river so it can remain a stable habitat for wildlife who make their home here. This river is also a place for anyone to ride, walk, enjoy and become connected with the outdoor world – and Sacramento’s past, present and future prosperity.

 

 

 

 

A Peaceful and Beautiful Morning Wake up

Thursday, June 13, 2019 640 am, 57 degrees

A sense of calm and quiet fills the air as I walk from Bannister Park to Fair Oaks Bridge and boat ramp.

Mornings reflections looking at Fair Oaks Bluff

As I stand on Jim’s Bridge, I watch the river move swiftly underneath. The air is so still, I listen to the whoosh of the water flowing downstream. I search for spider webs stretched across the side rails. I listen to birds fill the morning air with songs and enjoy the vibrant green on trees and plants and grass as I pass. The air is still cool and fresh and still. I greet many other walkers and runners also enjoying this peaceful morning. I continue walking down the Jedediah Smith Bicycle Trail toward Fair Oaks Bridge.

spider webs, Fair Oaks Bridge, morning, Jims Bridge, nature, outdoors, walks, beauty, scenic

 

Shortly after I walk on to the bridge, an Egret glides underneath it heading west. I always admire the Egret’s graceful, quiet flight and watch until it lands on the riverbank 100 yards away.

One boat sits in the water near the boat ramp. A fisherman stands at the end of the ramp casting in the water, drawing his line in and casting again. I walk down to the boat ramp for a closer look. Halfway across the river is an unusually colored small duck floats in the water. It is different than any other duck normally swimming in the river and continue to wonder about this. Suddenly it disappears. That is when I notice a fisherman  throwing his line out and the duck is attached at the end. Once more the duck bobs in the deep green water.

I stand and watch the fishermen throw their lines in, the men in the nearby boat as they sit and wait for a tug on their fishing line. I look up to Fair Oaks Bridge and see walkers, runners and cyclists cross the bridge.

I look across the river corridor at the deep colors of Fair Oaks Bluff and its reflection in the green shimmering water. 

The morning is so peaceful, even the two ducks standing in the water at the end of the ramp are standing in quiet contemplation. Occasionally a lonely rooster calls from a distance. Returning to Fair Oaks Bridge, I see two turtles are sunbathing on the log extending from the riverbank parallel to the bridge. They have been away for several weeks. I finished my morning walk not knowing the temperature had risen by more than 10 degrees and that I had been out walking, watching and listening for more than two hours.

 

 

 

 

Spider Webs and River Stories

Saturday, June 22, 2019 730 am 56 degrees

Two roosters call to greet me at Bridge Street on my way to Fair Oaks Bridge. Fishermen sit patiently in their boats out in the river. A feeling of peace and calm washes over me as the cool, gentle wind crosses my face. Birds call softly to greet the new day.

Fishermen are busy casting their lines. Some Canada Geese dive in search of breakfast.

So many spider webs line the bridge this morning. I stopped counting at 12. Maybe more than two dozen webs stretched all the way across the rails on the west side of the bridge. They range in size from two inches to eight, all woven into perfect intersecting lines. The sun is a glowing yellow ball of fire hanging in an empty pale blue sky. Runners, walkers and cyclists pass by. No one stops. No one looks side to side.

They all miss the intricate spider webs – graveyards for hundreds of flies hanging in storage for future meals. With so many flies lining the entire span of the bridge, I wonder if catching so many flies is for the sport or the need to eat.

Today I look over the side of the bridge that is closer to the bicycle trail near the riverbank and see a fallen log lying on the river bottom. The tree uprooted during the early 20017 flooding and lays in the same spot as if held captive there to rest. I suspect that  many visitors have long forgotten the destruction caused by the flooding when Folsom Dam released heavy water flows down the river. The river still holds memories of that turbulent time.

 

Visitors crowded the bridge during those weeks of heavy flows to see water swirl in a dizzying frenzy under Fair Oaks Bridge, Sunrise Blvd. and submerging Jim’s Bridge farther west.

Scanning the riverbanks, I can still see trees bent over and debris and tangled bushes lying on the landscape. Animal homes along the banks may still be flooded.

The American River continues to hold its own stories for anyone to discover.