Discusses the curious qualities of Canada Geese and ducks as they relate to each other through their unique style of communication. And the idea that their lives are far less hurried than that of the people who watch them.
Thursday, July 27, 2017 1pm
Today I watched ducks dance in the river!
My daughter and son feed ducks pretzel sticks and fruit pieces. We walk across Fair Oaks Bridge and see Canada Geese on its west side. The water is very still, and shaded green as a huge reflective pool. Dragonflies land on a nearby bush. The solo white duck joins the Mallards in a quest for food. I watch one of the ducks climb the riverbank as if it were stairs. Finding no food or anything else interesting, it turns around and waddles down the hill into the water.
We spread our beach towels on a shady riverbank in sight of Fair Oaks Bridge. Rafts are inflated. We open lunch bags and enjoy simple snacks. A few people pass on their way somewhere else. We enjoy a peaceful afternoon with no one nearby. I walk into the river to cool off and enjoy a show of dancing ducks.
Saturday, March 16, 2019, 710 am, 41 degrees
Entering the bridge, I look around and wonder where are the pigeons? I cannot remember the last time a dozen of them were perched on the overhead bridge truss to rest. Today I hear one coo and see none. Pigeons have always been the first birds to arrive, dancing in the sky, circling several times over the bridge before landing.
Not a single spider web stretches across the bridge side rails. I wonder where have the spiders gone?
Grass still grows through the deck boards. A duck flies solo under the bridge, as two airplanes let out a jet trail of smoke behind them as if they are drawing a long, then stripe on a blue chalkboard in the sky. A few runners pass, people walking their dogs and two cyclists speed by. The morning is so quiet I hear the sound of a vehicle driving over the gravel in the boat ramp parking lot. The air is chilly with no breeze. Occasionally I see my breath float above me into the air. The sky is pale blue without no clouds. Far different from the day before when white stripes, tinged with gold crossed the sky.
Standing at the boat launch ramp, I to see a group of eight ducks swimming toward the ramp. Suddenly most of them dive and disappear. They reappear, and as if they were on cue, rise up at precisely the same moment, flying low and swift to disappear around the river bend. One lone Canada Goose stands at the foot of the ramp, watching, waiting, or maybe wondering.
When I walk back on the bridge, I see a goose standing on the top of the truss. Rare to see waterfowl fly and rest on the top. I walk further and there is a goose resting on a pier. However, it makes a quick exit when two other loudly honking geese arrive and land on the pier and rest comfortably. Apparently, the pier is not big enough for three.
Two geese on the pillar continue to whisper. I wonder what they could be thinking about the conflict at the riverbank from their vantage point?
Eight Canada Geese arguing over territory shatter the silent morning. On the south riverbank, geese are honking and flapping wings and chasing the intruding geese away – first off a small spot of land and then shooing them away in the river. This continues until the geese split up. Some stand on the riverbank. Others swim alone in the river.
The sun sits far above the trees now. All hint of mist on the river has vanished. More ducks have come to dunk and search for breakfast. The two Canada Geese on the pier stand quietly, engaging in morning cleaning rituals, watching, resting and enjoying a panoramic river of the American River.