Upon stepping out of my car into the evening air of the river canyon, I felt at once held by the stillness and quiet. There was no sound but the river tumbling over rocks in the shallows, no wind. A bank of mist clung to the air above the water and mingled with the tree canopy.
I made my way from the road, down a small footpath toward the river. Lined with the fallen, decaying leaves of alders, who formed a sparse blanket across the tiny, green ground cover that eased their way from the clay-rich, sandy soils of the river bank.
I passed through the hallways of salmonberry thickets, their dormant sticks building a wall that reaches well above my head on both sides of the path, a gentle tangle of nut brown branches growing skyward from the dampest parts of the earth; no berries, no leaves.
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