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02 April 2006

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Laura

And then what happened????

larry

Ah . . . well, Laura, that photograph at the top of the post shows the black smudge of gelatinous algae growing where the water, after falling from the rim of the canyon, spreads out over the lip of the alcove where the ruins are located. I slipped on the slick algae; my feet out, my arms flailed outward, and I twisted in midair, turning to face outward, managing to get both of my big feet in parallel, like skis, on the black snow of algae—the momentum I had sent me out, flying off—but what you can’t see in the photograph is the big leafless cottonwood growing in the wash just below the alcove—and I landed in the terminal branches of that tree. Because it’s a cottonwood, those branches are as soft as the flush of cotton that bursts from a boll in the field; it was like landing in a thousand gauzily gloved fingers that virtually wrapped around. The old bent branches of cottonwoods tend to sway down, and a big branch bent to place me among the rushes in the middle of the wash. My heart was beating fast, but I walked out.

Laura

What a story! You told it so carefully and well---talk about a cliffhanger, this WAS one! I'm glad you came out unscathed. The conjunction of your fall and that cottonwood tree is miraculous.

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