Dawn on Merchants Millpond when a bright shaft of winter sunlight penetrates the dreaming trees.
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It was a brisk morning in March. Merchants Millpond State Park wasn’t officially open until 8:00 am. At dawn, there were no cars in the parking lot, no park rangers, no one at all.
The winter sun angled through dark stands of bald cypress and water tupelo, the trees in stark contrast, patiently waiting for spring. Most of last season’s leaves were gone but some remained, red as rust, bright as fire.
It was my first time paddling this mythic place, this world apart. Medieval alchemists had a saying: As above, so below. That morning I seemed to be floating at the intersection between heaven and earth. The trees grew both upward and downward and I occupied the thin plane between. It was slightly disconcerting and utterly magical.
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