Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Geese and the River

I went fishing this afternoon on the American River, mostly as a way to escape the heat.  It's been over one hundred degrees for the past five days in Sacramento.  The river offers a place to cool off, and maybe you can catch some fish.  They say the Stripers are in.  Some fall run Salmon are in the river now, too.  That's what they say, anyhow.

I was fishing for Stripers, at least in theory.  Wet wading was all I really wanted, but a fish would have been nice, of course.   Then again, sometimes you don't want a fish to interrupt your fishing.  This seemed to be one of those days.

As I moved up the river, two young deer, not fawns any more, stopped to watch me.  With ears perked up, they paid close attention, as they made their way to the river for a drink. With no particular thought of catching a fish, I just watched and waited until they moved off.

Continuing farther upstream, I rounded a bend, and the river opened up in front of me.  The sun was setting in the west as I faced the widening river to the east.  The water's smooth surface gave off a soft golden glow,  framed by the trees on both banks. The scene transported me to some place hundreds of miles from civilization, as if I were on some remote Canadian river.  But it was starting to get late; there was only a little time left for fishing.

And then I heard them.  I know their voices well, and even though my hearing has deteriorated with the years, I can still hear Canada geese when they are miles away.  I stopped to listen.  Their voices grew louder, and then they appeared, almost close enough to touch, but not really.  "Are they practicing for the upcoming migration?", I thought. Fussing and noisy, they continued upriver.  A few minutes later there were more, and then still more, all flying away from the sun, to some unknown destination.

I watched them until it was nearly dark, and then stumbled back to the car.  I hadn't caught a fish, but it was a good fishing trip.

(c) 2012, James  P. Webb


  1. Jim, I love your description of "not fishing" but love, too, the photo of the geese--they're so wonderful. I've always been attuned to Canadian geese, but I've never known why. Just something I feel. Thanks for this lovely evocation.

  2. Thank you, Mel. I too, am awed by these birds, for reasons I don't understand. Their long journeys, their loud honking, large skeins in a V shape, and lots of other things about them attract me to them. You've been following my photos long enough to know that they hold a special place in my heart. And yet, I would not cry to see them shot by a hunter. Although I no longer do it, I grew up hunting; hunters are part of the balance.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.