We climbed the drab wall which runs along the ridge line of the valley. Box watchtowers and houses, all with small histories and legends, dot the peak of each hill, the shape of the line and its hilltops a dragon’s backbone whose scales seemed to rise, slope and wrap along the landscape like hot, heaving breath. I’ve hiked steeper mountains at higher altitudes, all of which seemed easier than our 6k trek on the wall. While I walked I took note of the earth on each side of me. The leaves were changing color. The air was clean and cold. It was truly autumn, a season I have not experienced in over a year. The sky was gray like rain but the only feeling of a rainy day was a result of the thick clouds incubating us amidst that gigantic and open scape. Groves of red and auburn were gathered in clusters, dotting the valley’s sides like the 22 towers. The leaves irridesced purple and green, as if whispering hello to the wall’s travelers, kindly acknowledging our interruption of their millennia long conversation with stone dragon we were scaling and climbing. I slowed my steps in order to find a balance with my breath. The wall had forced, demanded my lungs to jump own gun, presence of body where we met it. I realize now, back on the comfort of my house that while couldn’t help but continue to turn look behind me, glance at the wall behind me with a feeling that I forgot something, although knowing full well that I arrived with all I needed. And so, all these things sung the blue note of nostalgia – the leaves, the smell, the cold air in my lungs, the wind painting my cheek and polling around my fingertips, the stillness of autumn, this season! #thegreatwallofchina #hike #hikeitout #travel #traveltheworld #wonder #love #livelifebig #china #asia #beijing http://ift.tt/2fOQwW4

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