Leaving Folsom, CA

The old town sits quietly quaint above the brick powerstation museum and the cold dark of the American River where it runs out of narrow canyons below the Folsom Lake Dam – and, surprisingly, below the part of the river claimed by Folsom State Prison.

There’s a long street of boardwalks and plank-faced buildings with old-time signs. It avoids being kitch, and just seems to enjoy itself. Live music in the air several nights a week. A surprisingly comfy afternoon cafe.

Having hurt my foot a couple weeks ago, I finally am resting it, which has meant mornings and afternoons kayaking the river, enjoying the splash-lean-splash of the ocean kayak on the still water.

Today, with a heart broken open by hard and beautiful events, I tandem-kayaked up to the zipline across the river that promises prosecution for approaching the prsion by water. Skirting and gurgling our way back in the strong current pulled and pushed by granite walls at this narrow end of “Lake Natoma” – the American River between the Folsom and Nimbus dams – I wondered what this place was like when the red people lived along it, what they thought of it. I wondered what John Muir thought of it, and how he crossed it and where. I marveled at the beauty of the people in the bright boats – including the man sharing mine.

Something about water frees me from the need to be separate.

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