A Quiet Swim

Saturday, November 3, 2018 730 am 55 degrees

Fair Oaks Bridge, Fair Oaks, American River, water, mornings, nature, outdoors, writing, clouds, reflection, sunAll is quiet this morning. Boats are gone. Phoebe calls from the top of Fair Oaks Bridge. I finally identified the bird that greets me with Ti Too! Ti Too! I stand in the cool, moist air with no breeze. My hands are chilled. White clouds scatter across the sky reminding me of spilled milk. Clouds reflect in the American River. My camera’s eye sees the reflections more clearly than mine. Occasionally I hear a splash and look to see the concentric circles in the river – the sign of a salmon leap.

Where are the Buffleheads? I have yet to see even one swim through the center of the river channel, diving for breakfast.

A few ducks and a single Canada Goose swim downriver. Their wake extends half way across the river. Five Canada Geese fly silently overhead heading west. Then the Phoebe calls again. It is the only sound this morning besides the hum of Sunrise Blvd. traffic about half mile to the west.

 

Fair Oaks Bluff, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings, nature, outdoors, river, writing, photography,clouds, reflection

 

 

 

A Postcard Morning

Thursday, December 13, 2018 710 am 41 degrees

As I walk down Bridge Street I see a chicken and rooster pair searching for food. I see no growing chicks with them. First there were five little peeps. Later only two followed behind. Weeks later, I saw only one small hen scratching the ground with them. Today the pair is alone. I wonder if their chicks died at the paws of a predator, from dehydration or not enough to eat?

Fair Oaks Bluff, mornings, Fair oaks Bridge, American River, water, wildlife,

Pale orange stripes of clouds cross the sky at sunrise. Higher cloud cover blankets the sky in small round puffs revealing patches of blue sky through the openings. Are they dots and dashes of code or cotton batting stretched out? White clouds reflect in the river below. Mist rolls along the surface of the river and around the bend.

sunrise, morning, Fair Oaks Bluff, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mist, clouds

I disturbed a Great Blue Heron standing on the water’s edge of boat launch ramp because I stood too close. It scolded me with a chortle while flying to the opposite riverbank.

A single gull circles over the river in front of me several times and then flies east around the bend. Four ducks fly in from their hiding places and ski into the water. Everyone is looking for breakfast. Today I see three dead and decaying salmon lying at the end of the ramp. This is the first week I have smelled the scent of decaying salmon in the air. I expected this fishy smell to saturate the air weeks ago. On my walk back to Fair Oaks Bridge, I hear the distant call of a rooster roaming on Bridge Street.

 

 

 

Canada Geese Argue over Territory

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.

Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings, nature, birds, observation, writing, outdoorsThe tiny bird that greets me with Ti Too! sits long enough for me to hear its call and then flies away. It always sings from the highest part of the bridge frame.

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.

mist, sunrise, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, write, nature, observe, outdoorsSun is just emerging over the trees behind the boat ramp. As it rises, a thin and puffy blanket of orange mist appears around the bend in the river and rolls slowly along the surface of the water.

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.

Canada Goose, mornings, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, water, outdoors, nature, observation, write, beauty, TrussCanada Geese, Fair Oaks Bridge, pier, American River, mornings, nature, outdoors, beauty,

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.

Two Friends Gather for Breakfast

Wednesday, April 3, 2019, 7 am

A short visit to Fair Oaks Bridge today. Long enough to watch two friends gather for breakfast on Fair Oaks Bridge at sunrise. Grass grows on the bridge deck during and after the wet winter. They both usually hide in bushes on Bridge Street. With few people out to disturb them, the pair wandered out to enjoy fresh grass and a view of the river.

rabbit, bunny Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, breakfast

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.