Huntsville, Alabama
The Natural Well is a pit cave hidden in Monte Sano State Park, at the very northern tip of Alabama. At the end of a path under arching oaks weaving tunnels of leaves, you’ll find an unmarked well with its walls crumbling and only a wire fence surrounding to keep adventurers from tumbling in. The cave is just a mouth in the ground, so deep that when you drop in a rock, you don’t hear the echo of its landing for seconds. Throwing things into the well—rocks, acorns, a stick—was hypnotizing for me as a kid. Every time, I thought maybe I would never hear it land at all. Maybe it would take a route I couldn’t see or imagine down there in the darkness.

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Heidi Siegrist lives and works as a freelance writer in Chicago, Illinois, where she stayed after graduating from the University of Chicago because she wasn’t sure where else to go. She is also an MFA student at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and is currently working on a collection of essays about our various human entanglements and how they’re shaped by the places we can and can’t return to.

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