The cool delta breeze blows across summer fields,|
And through trees that line the American River
As it twists and turns around its borders,
Heading for a convergence with the turbid flow
Of the Sacramento River.
Its journey begins from white snowcaps
And pure underground springs high up
In the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Where small streams flow from the north and east,
Flowing into the northeast corner of Folsom lake,
While southern streams cascade down along highway 50
To merge into its southeastern corner.
Breaking free from the dam, it rushes down the canyon
Into the lower American River, creating a pristine lake
Of glistening stillness, shrouded in sky.
Its quiet calmness, pulled from beneath,
Cascades from the Nimbus dam into a raging torrent
Of white water seeking the stillness
That resides in its clarity.
I awake to the coolness of morning,
With its scent of a fresh beginning,
Rising with the morning sun,
I prepare for the Cycle of Bliss.
I don my cycling gear of jersey and shorts,
Strapping on my shoes and helmet,
And mount my bike on the rack
Attached to the bumper of the old Valiant.
The trail begins at the edge of a small park
Where children play Lacrosse and the bike trail
Drops into a wooded fielded of scattered scrub oak
And shaggy willow.
I ride out into a clearing dotted with shrubs
Of Elderberry and Larkspur biting into the rocky soil
The trail winds into a perfect arbor of valley oak
Creating a lattice work of shadows flickering
To the cool delta breeze.
I emerge from the shadowy arbor of valley oak
And climb a small hill of river licked stones
Spread along the riverís edge, ripped and stripped
By 49íers in search of gold.
Riding down the slight rolling trail through a quaint
Park of benches and barbeque pits
I feel the tug of the river as it flows beneath
An old wooden bridge.
The old bridge rising just above the water line,
Dwarfed into a pedestrian thoroughfare by its
Sister bridge of cement and asphalt of four lanes
I hear the moaning sound of the old bridge
Sigh beneath me as I ride across its sturdy back and
Merge into the main bike trail heading along
The south bank of the river.
The trail takes me beneath the cement and asphalt
As it roars above my head with a coarse humming
Of drivers passing oblivious to the beauty unsaid.
And to my left reaching from across the river,
High on the bluff, a truss bridge of steel from 1907
Stands in all its glory.
Holding firm to its dignity and noble presence,
It reaches across time and space as pedestrians
And cyclist cross its aged past,
Guided by the circumstance of fate.
Three bridges spanning the same river
As it flows beneath their reach,
Carrying more than the moment of passing,
It carries their history, so rich and unique.
The trail mimics the serpentine flow of the river
Winding in slow gracious turns,
Rolling up as the river rolls down
Toward the sea.
The river spreads like liquid diamond
Glinting with sun light skimming across its
Surface, tossed like a stone from beyond the sky.
A single scull ghosting across the lake,
Paints images, fluid and dynamic,
Balletic in movement;
Yet simple in design.
A wall of rocks rises to my left,
Jagged outcroppings cracked with time,
Occasionally slips to the trail;
Nature in flux, for time
Never stands still.
I cross back to the riverís south side
Over a small bridge, built long ago
Standing at the mouth of the canyon
Above the river flowing around
I ride the trail as it snakes along the south side
Of the river, parallel to highway 50
Zigzagging in and out of small groves of cottonwood
Where cotton often falls like snow.
I pass through a small forest of digger pine
Spreading out from both sides of the trail.
So thin and twisted, grotesque
In shape and form, an imperfect reflection
Of mine and yours.
Riding on the delta breeze,
Drenched in life,
I gasp for the next turn,
The next vista,
The next moment