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.

 

 

 

 

Make Friends With a Tree

Trees are great friends because they have so many stories to tell and so much to share.

Years ago on a nature hike, a ranger gave us this clever hint for identifying  Douglas-fir trees. Their cones look as if mice are hiding inside “digging fir seeds” and their tail is all you can see. While your tree is still outside, become an explorer and learn your tree’s story.

  • How tall is it? Taller than mom or dad? Can your child reach the top by stretching their arms high?
  • Can you guess how old it is? Take a close look at the rings on the underside of the trunk. What important events happened since the tree was born?
  • Who can wrap their arms all the way around it?
  • Reach inside to the trunk and feel the bark. Is it soft, scratchy, rough? What color is the trunk?
  • Does the tree have needles or leaves? Are needles sticky, sharp or soft? Short or long?  Are they arranged in groups of 2, 3, or even 6 on a branch? Are needles or leaves sturdy or limp?
  • Ponderosa pine

    Does any creature make its home in the tree? How can you tell? Do you see a spider’s web or tiny holes in the bark from a woodpecker’s beak?

  • If you approach a tree that smells like vanilla or butterscotch, then you are looking at a Ponderosa pine.
  • Celebrate it! Give it water. Decorate. Take photos. Write its story.
  • Next times you visit a forest, watch the trees  sway in the wind, reach high for the sun and down into the ground to its roots for nourishment.
  • Explore on your own – what do trees give us besides a shady place to rest?