River of Emptiness – After the Flood

Saturday April 22, 2017 8 am

During my morning walk, I hear birds greeting the day as they sing hidden in trees lining Fair Oaks Village and nearby streets. A few chickens greet me, still emerging from their evening hiding places in trees and under shrubs.

tree, Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, flooding, water, emptinessSun is high in the sky. Dawn arrives before 6 am on these spring mornings. The sun is already over the horizon to light the morning. Thin, scattered clouds streak the sky. The green water is calmly moving downstream. Sunlight sparkles on the water. As I stand on the bridge, I hear the deep throated cooing from unseen pigeons. The river is empty. Not even one duck is out swimming this morning. All the homes, hiding places, ridges and islands for wildlife to settle on are overrun with water. The river runs high again today and so many once dry places are still flooded.

One tree with roots exposed stands as a marker to the constantly changing water level. During the peak of winter storms, the tall, thin tree was completely surrounded by water, sitting as an island several feet from the water’s edge. Today as in many recent days past, it hugs the eroded shore, roots exposed.Read more

Seagull Stands Guard

October 18. 2017 245 pm 75 degrees

Decaying salmon provide food for seagulls on the American River.

When riding my bike along the American River Parkway bicycle trail, I walked down to the sandy shore of the American River at the San Juan Rapids. I watched two seagulls perched on an island sits at the edge of the. One seagull fiercely guards a dead salmon. Occasionally, the gull pulls a nibble of meat off the badly decayed fish. Five yards away sits another gull, alone, watching without food. I wonder what this second one could be thinking, knowing the other seagull is guarding a feast enough to feed half dozen gulls.

seagull, salmon, American River,
Standing guard alongside decaying salmon
Pulling a snack off the luncheon plate







The winds shift suddenly and the air carries the smell of rotting salmon. The familiar scent has brought vultures to check out the scene. Two circle in the pale blue sky, set against of background of blue and gray puffy clouds.

I see a flock of Canada Geese fly in 100 yards downriver and take their places along the riverbank. Two Mallards swim by me. More seagulls arrive to float on the water. How could there be so much salmon and almost none of them jump out of the water? This is my puzzle for today as I leave the American River Parkway and return home.