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Walking in the canyon

Once red and barren, the canyon is now a magical place -pregnant with the damp, verdant silence of the forest. Though the water run-off has not been totally controlled, there are many areas where granite check dams have stopped erosion, leading to an accumulation of topsoil and subsequently to fairly dense undergrowth.

Trees have also started propagating naturally, resulting in an increasing regeneration of the forest. There are still dramatic patches however where the destructive and the regenerative forces of nature clash, - one sees banyans and other trees developing an incredible root-structure and literally hanging onto the face of a red, eroded cliff for their survival.

One is never quite sure what will one come across, or where will one end, in a walk through the canyon. A sighting of the Great Horned Owl that nests on a cliff quite close to Forecomers is almost guaranteed.. And it is magnificent to watch this huge, brown bird that frightened, or perhaps just annoyed by intruding humans, spreads its wings and soars above the red walls of the canyon into the sky to vanish deeper into the forest. There are stories of how the owl would not move from her nest, despite the presence of human-beings, for there were crows hovering, waiting for a chance to get at the owl's eggs.

And once, a friend and I found, under the owl-nest, snake skulls and rat vertebrae, -undoubtedly remnants of the owl's prey. On another occasion, we came across a newly molted snake skin hanging from a jutting rock.
There have been times when I have got lost in the canyon (guided back only by the barking of the dogs at Forecomers) while exploring some gully or the other, captivated by the pools of water naturally collected on rock-structures and home to a wide array of water-beetles, or by the soft, green moss that covers narrow, moist crevasses, or..

Innumerable are the mysteries of nature that the canyon holds in its bosom.

Excerpt from an article in Auroville Today

See also:
Canyon erosion control

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