Butterfly at Rest

Sunday, April 9, 1150 am

Beautiful spring day! Far too late for an early morning write.

I walk down to the boat ramp where two men prepare to go kayaking. One kayaker was the expert and the other a novice taking a lot of instruction.

Canada Goose, boat launch ramp, American River Parkway, Fair Oaks Bridge
A lone Canada goose watches and waits

Two mallards swim in. One Canada Goose joins the swim. They all stay near the riverbank.One Canada Goose stands alone at the end of the boat ramp. The water is near still, gentle motion and a clear brilliant green. Pigeons visit the river. No Egret. No Great Blue Heron. No seagulls. Lots of cyclists and walkers are out on the river. Yesterday morning it was pouring rain. Friday we had a flash flood. Today it is a beautiful spring day with puffy white clouds.

 Two months ago, this ramp was under five feet of water and invisible. A stretch of pavement that abruptly ended in water was the only indication that a ramp was there.

The butterfly’s tiny legs grip the plant

I found a butterfly on the ground as I walked to the bridge. I picked it up and threw it into the air, thinking it needed a boost to get it going. The butterfly fell back to the ground. It lay flat with barely any movement except a little leg kicking. I carefully placed it on the stalk of a plant and it grabbed hold. I thought it may be in its final hours of life. I stood and watched it clinging to the plant. The wind blew gently against its wing. I gently moved the plant. The butterfly adjusts its legs to hold on. Still sits motionless. People pass by and no one wonders what I am looking at. I wonder if butterflies sleep?

butterfly, American River Parkway, river, Fair Oaks Bridge
Underside of the butterfly reveals its yellow spot color pattern

The American River Parkway is filled with butterflies, flying from one plant to another. This one is no longer flying. A butterfly’s life is very short. Sometimes only a few weeks. By placing the butterfly among the plants, I hope it can rest peacefully here instead of being crushed by footsteps.

Goslings First Swim

Tuesday, May 9, about 7 pm

On my short bike ride this evening, I stop at the boat launch ramp nearby Fair Oaks Bridge to get a closer look at two new families of Canada Geese. I watch the goslings tiny webbed feet paddle through the water. An exciting day to see new life at the river!

Canada Geese, goslings, swim, American River, Fair Oaks, boat launch ramp
Two families going for a swim.
Canada Geese, gostlings, swim, webbed feet, American River, Fair Oaks, boat launch ramp
Tiny webbed feet paddle as fast as they can go.

First Day of Spring

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 715 am, 50 degrees

This morning – our first day of Spring – a gentle mist falls on Fair Oaks Bridge. Clouds glow bright white on the east side where pockets of sunlight shine through.

American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, water, nature, outdoors, writing, beauty, sunrise, clouds, mist

Birds twitter and rattle. I hear a sound that reminds of the whistle of a circus calliope. Air feels warm through the mist. I wonder why when I look closely at the river near the bend and it sparkles blue, yet the river near the bridge looks green.

Canada Goose, pier, Fair Oaks bridge, American River, water, mornings, wildlife, nature, outdoor, writing,Two Canada Geese honk loudly as they fly in from the west and cross the Sunrise Blvd. Bridge. These two geese are so loud, they almost drown out the roar of traffic. They fly in low over the bridge, still honking all the way as they continue past the boat launch ramp. Then both of them make a U-turn and split up – still honking.

One goose flies to the riverbank under the bridge. The other flies toward the bridge to land softly on the concrete support pier inches from where I stand on the deck. Standing quietly, the goose surveys the river from its perch and begins morning preening rituals. Minutes later, it shouts to its partner and they continue to hold a conversation from the pier to the riverbank. I am wondering did they take different positions to more effectively scout the river for breakfast?

One fisherman launches his boat and speeds up river. Runners pass me on the bridge. Groups of walkers enjoy the early morning air. The goose on the pier whispers and continues watching the river. Are they looking for the last Steelhead to swim upriver to spawn? As the steelhead run comes to a close, fishermen take their places on the American River waiting. A dozen fishermen were standing on the riverbank at dusk last night. Several others stood hip high in the river. One fish leaped out of the water. I saw no one catching any.

autumn leaves, fall, Spring, Winter, pavement, Fair Oaks Bridge, Bridge street, colorWalking off the bridge and on to Bridge Street, I notice the street covered with red-orange leaves laying flat on the pavement. I wonder where they came from? How did they stay on the trees throughout the winds and rain of fall and winter – to finally touch ground on the first day of Spring?