The outside temperature was 18°F when we woke up. And it dropped to 17°F before sunrise. Luckily the water tank was not frozen and we had water for use in the trailer. We took a hike at ten in the morning. When we walked down the hill and saw two prisoners wearing orange color outfit were painting the poles of the ramadas by the river. A police officer was talking with an elderly couple nearby. They have used prisoners to paint the walls in the bathrooms. A dog walked away from the elderly couple and followed us. The elderly lady told me that the dog was harmless. I was not afraid of the dog but was a little bit uneasy at the sight of prisoners.
We walked to the river and Stephen saw a black-crowned night-heron standing at the edge of the water by the opposite bank. Its body leaned forward and it was preoccupied. It stood motionlessly with its eyes focusing on the water. A couple of coots were floating near the night-heron. And we were thrilled to see green-winged teals! A couple of sandpipers were foraging on the shallow water. Several ducks were on downstream. The amazing thing was that they were all going about their own business and our presence didn’t disturb them. I felt harmony was in the air.
This reminded me of my sighting of wildlife here the other day. Standing by the bank, at one moment, I saw six big fish in the river, a bull frog on the bank, a kinglet hopping in the tree, and a woodpecker pecking on a tree. Those fish swayed their tails slowly and lingered at the edge of the river. Three of them had light color and the rest had dark color. The bull frog stayed there enjoying the warm morning sun. I felt like that I was immersed in the scene of harmony and became part of it.
We walked along the dense salt cedars by the river. As usual, we stopped by an opening and looked for birds. A gray shaped object on the opposite bank caught my eyes. I looked at it through the binoculars. To my delight, it was a night heron taking a nap. It hid its head in its plumage with its back facing us. So its white breast was invisible to us. The grey color blended in the surrounding and camouflaged the heron. As we walked on the slope leaving the river, two small birds appeared in the bush. I saw the distinctive ruby crown on one of the birds through the binoculars. Ruby crown kinglets! We saw them again!
We took another hike in the late afternoon. Through the thick unruly branches of salt cedars, we were astonished to see a night heron standing on a branch just 10 feet away from us. The brown bush and trees separated us from the night heron. It was looking at us sideway. We stood still and stayed quiet. It didn’t take off. We kept on walking after a while and left it undisturbed. Again, I felt harmony was in the air.