Sunday, July 5, 2020 7:30 am 68 degrees
River is usually quiet this time of year. Resident ducks and Canada geese fly in. I saw a cormorant fly twice over the water. I always look for spider webs – so many, with lots of captured flies.
The sun glitters like stars reflecting in the water. The reflection moves with me as I walk across the bridge.
Sometimes I see turtles sitting in a log that lies alongside the bridge. Today I saw three of them. One at a time they climbed out of the water on the log to sunbathe. I point them to walkers on the bridge. A Sacramento County Sheriff officer wandered over. He thought since three of us are looking over the side of the bridge, something must have happened. I told him we are looking at the turtles underneath the bridge on the log. After being assured everything was okay, he walked away.
Once I venture on the paved bike trail or even the dirt trails alongside the river, it is so peaceful and beautiful. It is easy to forget the setting is surrounded by suburban development. This could be anywhere. The only clue is the homes sitting on the edge of or near Fair Oaks Bluff. No sound today except for the rushing water. I see some soft ripples where the depth of the water changes. Water is so shallow here, visitors walk to the center and it is only waist high. A gentle breeze blows across my face.
I stand at the boat launch ramp watching the geese clean themselves as their morning ritual. They twist their necks in all directions. I leave home and often forget to bring them food.
A family of four (two parents and two young boys) walked down the ramp. The older boy was scared of the geese. A dozen of them were scouring the boat launch ramp looking for tidbits to eat. The boy refused to walk down the ramp to pose with his brother – to avoid standing too close to the geese. I said the geese are not to be afraid of. I am here all the time. Kneel or sit down and they think you are not here. They are not afraid. Being them food and they will love you forever. Parents thanked me as they left with their family photos.
I meet a lot of people. Some watch the scene, others read. Others walk by and some cyclists ride as if they were on a marathon. Several men are standing in the river fishing. I saw one fly fishing. He cast his line way out and it landed. Then he cast his line way out again before pulling it out again.
Fair Oaks Bridge and the American River that surrounds it, means so many different things to its visitors.
Mornings on Fair Oaks Bridge – Introduction
This segment describes what you will hear in the series of 12 podcasts. Each one describes Janice’s early morning experiences and settings, beginning in September 2016 continuing through February 2018.
I look forward to the magic moments of morning on Fair Oaks Bridge and American River Parkway to discover and celebrate the gifts of the outdoor world. I often arrive at dawn before the sun rises over the trees and stay for an hour or more to observe, listen, write and photograph.
“I don’t know where it is possible to love the planet or not, but I do know that it is possible to love the places we can see, touch, smell and experience.”
David Orr, Earth in Mind
The American River Parkway is “The Jewel of Sacramento.” Fair Oaks Bluff is the “Crown Jewel.” Fair Oaks Bridge was completed in 1909. It is a “Truss” bridge and a treasured icon for the adjacent community of Fair Oaks. The community of Fair Oaks is located about 15 miles northeast of the city of Sacramento. Fair Oaks Village is widely known for its chickens, whose wake up calls provide music each morning and continue throughout the day. Readers will find chickens featured throughout blog posts in photos and video.
The bridge connects Fair Oaks Village with the American River Parkway, a greenbelt that stretches 37 miles through suburban communities of Sacramento and into the city. The bridge sits alongside Fair Oaks Bluff – also displayed in many photographs within blog posts. The setting is a beautiful place to see, touch, smell and experience!
Gulls gather on the river in groups of a hundred or more to wait for salmon to swim upstream, spawn and die. Turkey vultures and salmon both guard their catch.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 7 am
Roosters are still calling “good morning” still hidden for the night in trees and shrubs. Some are very early risers and wander about in the street.
A cloudless sky. I arrive at 7 am wearing a T-shirt and shorts and put down my backpack. A lone kayaker approaches boat dock after an early morning row. One lone boat – 2 men – casting their fishing rods. I see the same woman jogging today. I wonder how many people I will see that come here as walkers, joggers or dog walkers every day? The bridge is quiet so far, with few cyclists or walkers.Read more
Wednesday September 21, 2016, 7 am
Clouds cover the sky. Raindrops fall on my windshield. In the 10 minutes it takes for me to walk to the river, the sky has already brightened. The raindrops that fall on the bridge quickly evaporate. I feel a cool breeze blow against my face. This is the first moisture of late summer and in a few minutes the drizzle has passed.
Roosters wake up the neighborhood with their calls – one crowing and another responds. Far fewer roosters are awake. Maybe the chill has kept them hiding in trees a little longer?
I know the morning sun has risen over the trees. Yet I cannot see it today hidden behind dense cloud cover.Read more
Lots of activities at the river: cyclists, walkers, new goslings, ducks fly in and search for breakfast. Canada Geese bob for breakfast.
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 7:15 am
By the time I arrive at Fair Oaks Bridge at 7:15 am, the sun has already risen high above the trees, glowing yellow and hot in a cloudless sky. The bridge is already filled with sunlight.
Morning walkers pass by. We exchange good mornings and smiles. Garage doors lift and shut as residents of the village drive on to the street and away to begin their workday.
A young boy alongside in a boat struggles with his fishing pole sitting in one of the boats alongside two men who are also fishing. The boy gives up, tosses the pole and begins to explore the boat, walking back and forth, checking its bottom for something interesting to examine
Five boats filled with fisherman cast their lines into the cloudy green water. The boats sit at some distance apart on the east side of the bridge. Thousands of salmon will be arriving soon, jumping randomly out the water. They have not yet arrived from their long journey from the Pacific, through the Delta sloughs, up the Sacramento River and into the American River. Many will end their journey near the Fair Oaks Bridge.Read more
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.
Friday, September 23, 2016, 7 am, 53 degrees
I finally acknowledge the passing of summer’s long, warm days when the cool mornings of October arrive. With sunlight and bike rides along the American River that last until 9 pm. Dew covers my car windshield in the morning now. The air is chilled at 645 am. My first Sunday morning on Fair Oaks Bridge, I wore shorts and a t-shirt, warmed quickly by the sun. Today, Friday I wear my denim jacket and slip on a pair of jeans. Yesterday’s morning temperature was 55. Today it is 53. As days grow shorter, and fall blends into winter, morning temperatures will drop further to 45 and then 35 and sometimes the high 20s. I will enjoy these mornings on the bridge before the chill of morning gives me a reason to stay longer at home.
Usually I wake gently as I walk to the bridge, listening to the morning symphony of roosters. Today my morning explodes with deafening sound as I walk down the street as a motorcycle with his radio turned up comes up from behind. I am jarred awake. My morning “fog” instantly evaporates.
Determined fisherman sit in their boats waiting. I have no idea when they arrive. Each morning they are already here. They must come before dawn to catch the salmon as they rise for breakfast. I notice the moon in the sky. During my first Sunday, the moon was full. Today, hardly a week later, the moon is now half visible.Read more