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They had planted the tree on the day he was born. It grew as he grew, struggled as he struggled, thrived as he thrived. He learned from this tall companion, sitting in its shade, watching it wave in the wind, listening to it speak as its bark expanded and crackled in the sun. Their roots entangled, he fed off the tree as it fed off the land, and there he remained, the soil his foundation, the branches his framework, the leaves his home.

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