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Word Count: 444
Hidden in a grove of trees in northern Oregon is an overgrown muddy path Its entrance is obscured by blackberry bushes and tangled weeds As the growth is pushed away the trail is only visible by the substantial amounts of mud evident through the matted grass Even in the summer months the path remains soggy from the steady northwest rain This trail was once used for a single week every summer a place of refuge now obscured by heavy forest Descending down the trail weeds must occasionally be pushed out of the way The path continues on its shallow descent and trickling water can be heard through the final wall of trees The trail comes to a halt at a rusted chain-link gate it is wedged open just enough for a small body to squeeze through Directly ahead a thick curtain of willow branches sweeps the ground Pulling apart the tendrils of the willow tree is difficult A swift separation of the hands brings resistance as if attacking a stubborn snarl in a childs hair Breaking through the sunlight is nearly blinding as the cool shadow of the forest disappears Smooth rocks extend out of the riverbed and onto the banks of the creek On the opposite side of the river is lush green grass full draping trees and still pools with the surface broken by hundreds of waterbugs skating on top The stream is about knee-high and its chilly water tumbles happily over the stones and boulders of the creek bed The sanctuary is a world of green plants and sun-kissed flowers The perfume of lilies in the sun permeates the heavy air as it lazily drifts over the water Directly ahead is a beautiful inviting tree a long thick branch drifts out of the trunk and hovers over the running water The forked tree provides the perfect seat to enjoy the glory of the cathedral Climbing up is not difficult as the rough
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