Moment to Moment Experiences

Saturday, October 28, 2017       720 am 52 degrees

When I arrive on the bridge, I see seven boats lined up on the American River (running from east to west). I find it curious the boats are always in a straight line on the eastern side of Fair Oaks Bridge. Boats always stay on the north side of the river. I am guessing the water level is deeper to support the boats. The south side where the boat launch ramp is located tends to be shallow almost half way out.

boats, fishermen, Fair Oaks Bridge, morning, American River, salmon

Two walkers pass. An older man calls out to me, “It is cheaper to buy salmon at the store than to go fishing in the cold. It is freezing out there on the water.”  I turned and replied, “Then you miss the experience. You cannot buy the experience.”

I rarely have the opportunity to ask fishermen why they venture into the cold river before dawn to catch salmon. For devoted fishermen, catching a wild salmon, watching it jump and wriggle and try in vain to escape is the culmination of both joyful anticipation and planning. Some salmon get away. Their struggle to escape is stronger than the fishing line. At the  final moment when the salmon is caught, skillful hands cannot hold on. The salmon wins the game to fight another day. Watching the sunrise, eating breakfast on portable grills on the boat are experiences no one can buy in a store.

morning, Fair Oaks Bridge, moments, American River, salmon, duck,
Breakfast on the boat launch ramp

I watch the fishermen as they find the best spot, cast their lines and share fish stories between boats. I come outside to experience the chill in morning air, listen for a distant, yet unseen “quack, quack, quack,” and honks from Canada Geese, the graceful flight of seagulls and their calls to each other from the river.

Even after visiting this bridge more than 100 times, I continue to marvel at the beauty of this place.

Arriving at Fair Oaks Bridge, I always do a spider web check. This morning I marvel at two empty spider webs. These webs are meticulously attached to the Truss frame of the bridge. I watch the ripples in the water as ducks swim past me. Next I watch a circle of pigeons flying above the bridge. Canada Geese swim under the bridge. An egret flies and lands on the boat launch ramp. Ducks are busy finding breakfast on the boat launch ramp and under the water. I remain in awe how various species of birds take flight and land, using their wings and feet in different, yet very precise ways. Many waterfowl gather to feed on salmon. I don’t smell the scent of their decaying bodies as much as I have in the past. Two dead salmon lay at the river bottom below the bridge.

morning, Fair Oaks, American River
Ducks dunk and swim as they search for nibbles underwater

I stand and watch a series of circles in the water created by Canada Geese who rise and flap their wings in the air for 20 yards before ever lifting out of the water and rise into the sky. I listen to the sound of a tiny bird, “Ti Too. Ti too.” These birds return regularly to rest on the overhead truss of the bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Companions

Sunday, April 15, 2018, 630 am     52 degrees

morning companions, pigeons, Fair Oaks Bridge, walk, American River, mornings, food, breakfast
Seemingly frustrated there is no food on this long bridge walk.

 

I hear the usual good morning calls from one lone chicken living in the bushes along Bridge Street. A dozen pigeons circle the Fair Oaks Bridge. Some land and walk the deck.

Clouds scatter across the sky as if they were blue gray spires of spun sugar with golden tips at their end. The air is still and cool. The river moves quickly downstream. As the sun emerges on the horizon, it shines brilliantly through dense cloud cover.

 

otter, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, mornings, swim, morning companions
River otter swims just below surface beneath Fair Oaks Bridge, dives deeper and disappears.

The branch where I watch turtles sunbathe is completely underwater. A river otter surfaced from underneath the north riverbank, swam under Fair Oaks Bridge and disappeared.

I am surrounded by the morning melodies of birds singing from high trees heard and unseen. As all other wildlife leaves Fair Oaks Bridge and the nearby areas, birds continue to sing. I stand alone on the bridge, and listen to the music of my morning companions.

Active Morning on the River

Saturday, September 29, 2018   56 degrees   735 am

active, Fair Oaks, chickens, Fair Oaks Bridge, Bridge Street, mornings, Two fluffy chickens look for food on Bridge Street.

Walking on Fair Oaks Bridge, clouds blanket the sky and the only light is a long, thin strip directly above distant treetops. River is calm and deep green.

Lots of activity this morning! Standing on the bridge, I watch clouds change from a gray blanket to snow white puffs, as the wind stretches them apart to reveal a deep blue backing underneath. Three ducks come out for a swim and approach where the boats sit.

As I prepared to take photos of the morning scene, I was surprised to see clouds reflecting in the water – seen only through my camera lens.

clouds, active, reflections, American River, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, water, river, nature, outdoors, writing, photos, wildlife

Walking to the boat launch ramp, rafters and boaters who arrived as early as 530 am prepare to leave the river while others are just now arriving. Pick up trucks and boat trailers line the parking lot. Several ducks next to the riverbank engage in their morning routines: cleaning, dunking for food, and watching the river. Turkey Vultures patrol the sky over Fair Oaks Bluff. Two-dozen pigeons circle the sky east of Fair Oaks Bridge. I do not see any of them land. They circle and vanish.

Great Blue Heron, active, wildlife, mornings, Fair Oaks, Fair Oaks Bridge, nature, wildlife, American River, American River Parkway, outdoorsI hear a chortle to my left and know a Great Blue Heron has flown in. It poses on the rock on the left side of the boat ramp long enough for me to snap a few photos. Then it sounds another call, extends its large wings and glides slowly over the river, past the ducks and vanishes further upriver. 

Guarding my Claim

Monday, December 17, 2018 

First the seagull stood on the rock and called to all other seagulls this was his claim. In this video, the seagull chases away its competitors for the dead salmon lying at the end of the boat launch ramp. A few minutes later, the ducks came waddling in looking for breakfast. They ignored the grapes I threw on the ramp. Seagulls enjoyed them as snacks instead.