Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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SARA Park, and the Importance of Not Throwing Your Living Room into the Nearest River

A few weeks ago I went to SARA Park. SARA is short for Save the American River Association, and the park is one of the many along the American River Parkway. My favorite picture from SARA Park is the one of this turkey vulture that was circling low above my head.

Upon entering the park, I crossed the paved bike trail (barely out of sight in the lower right corner) and followed a dirt path through the crooked and mistletoe-ridden oak trees.

This is the view when I turned around to look at the bank I'd just walked down.

Many of the trees grow nearly horizontally out over the river.

I liked both the bare branch structure and the white-flowered bush in front of it, but I don't know why the white flowers came out looking light green in the photograph.

Here what I liked was the strange pattern of evenly spaced vertical sticks. I don't understand how the sticks got that way.

Here's a small tree shading the river.

There was an egret on the opposite bank.

However, I soon discovered that a section of the bank on my side of the river is being swallowed alive by invasive alien periwinkle. This foreshadowed (ha, I'm using my English test editor terminology) further human-caused destruction that I would discover later.

I proceeded west, among vines that were probably native but that I was unable to identify, toward the setting sun. (Edit: Wait, I figured out now what the vines are! They're California manroot, Marah fabaceus.)

The manroot vines were climbing all over this bent trunk.

I tried to photograph the giant cloud of gnats next to the manroot vines, backlit by the sun. Those glowing yellow spots in the upper left corner are the gnats.

This is the same vine-covered trunk, seen now from the north side instead of the south side.

I don't know what these plants are, but I felt like photographing them.

Emerging back into view of the river, I saw . . . someone's living room chair immersed in the river. People, if you have a living room chair you want to get rid of, please don't just throw it into the nearest river.

Someone dumped their whole living room out here! Now the grass is growing out of their rolled-up carpet.

See, the carpet and the chair are within the distance of an only slightly large living room of each other.

The chair looks rather beyond the point of being fixable now.

Don't you love taking beautiful nature photographs with rotting living room chairs dropped hideously into the middle of them? Let's pretend the log is a chair-eating sea monster, slithering out to pounce on its prey.

Here I was going for the added contrast between the obviously human-sawed log in the foreground and the obviously naturally occurring log in the background (which has opened its jaws and is about to eat that chair once and for all . . .).

The sun is setting! The view is like a picture postcard! Except with a rotting living room chair in the middle of the river!

Okay, fine, so you're tired of looking at the chair. So am I, but tell that to whoever dumped the chair in the river. Here, have some ducks in the river instead. Ducks actually belong in the river. See how much more appropriate they look in these surroundings than the chair did?

I'm continuing to walk west, past the ducks. That's the Watt Avenue bridge in the distance, which means I'm starting to wander out of SARA Park and into the Watt Avenue river access instead. So I should turn around and go home now, because the Watt Avenue river access is where I'm going next Saturday.

Here's one last view of the sun setting over the Watt Avenue bridge.

Back at the other end of SARA Park, where I first entered, here's the river to the east. Along with the rocky levies that everyone knows are in almost as much danger of giving away and flooding the entire city as everyone knew the New Orleans levies were just before Hurricane Katrina.

Upon reaching my car, I turned around to take one last photograph of the park horizon at sunset.

Tags: photographs
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