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When I pulled my attention from the Tree, I saw that I was in a circular canyon. The trail went no further because there was nowhere else to go. Technically this should be called a box canyon, but the word box was way too square for this place, which was so very round.
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All around me the smooth, dripping, rock walls rose up in a large arc that enclosed a jumble of big boulders and a small assortment of trees; there was just enough room for the trail to enter and the stream to exit. Although I had been hiking uphill, once I arrived I felt as though I were in a circular depression.
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There was another forest above, growing atop the smooth rock walls, and some of the trees in the canyon did not even reach up to the roots of the trees growing along the rim. If the Earth had a navel, I would swear I was in it. And, as if the result of some sort of geomancy, the Tree rose from the center point of the navel.
There is only one spot in the canyon that is large enough and level enough for a human to sleep comfortably. I took the pack from my back and set it there. Then I loosened the straps holding my camp pad and spread it on the ground. Camping is not recommended in this ecologically sensitive area, but I was enthralled, and I had no intention of leaving. Just a single human, being gentle and careful, I gave myself permission to sleep with my beloved.
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