What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life? -Mary Oliver

Thursday, July 1, 2010

49th Festival Of The Trees

Welcome to the 49th Festival of the Trees. When Jade Blackwater first contacted me and asked if I would be interested in hosting July's celebration, I didn't know what to expect. I certainly didn't expect the outpouring of artistic expression that I received. I would like to thank Jade for seeking me out and Dave Bonta , co-founder of the Festival of the Trees, for all his help with coordinating submissions that came in through the blog.

July 1st is the first day of the heat moon, and we're on the cusp of the dog days of summer... thunderstorms and fireflies, straw hats and cold drinks, days of lazy summer heat when finding shade under a tree is sometimes all one can think about. So, without further ado, let's check out some trees.

I'd like to kick this off with my favorite childhood hiding spot. This old pickling pear tree.
Yes! it really is a pear tree and, yes, there has been a rope swing (recently updated) hanging off the same limb for seventy years. Three generations of inquisitive adventurers with scabbed knees, bare feet, and dirty faces have wrapped their legs around it. If you climbed up the trunk to the fork and then higher.... out on this limb,
your mother couldn't find you, nor your older bossy siblings. You could read uninterrupted about adventure on the high seas or about a little girl in the Maritimes, or just watch squirrels navigate the narrow branches above while you, blameless, dropped hard, inedible pears on your brother's head as he tried to swing.

From Tricia O'Brien at Talespinning, we have a few of her amazing photos complemented by her signature haiku, as well as a flash fiction piece about a young cypress tree (relatively speaking as a cypress can live for thousands of years) that wishes it were a boy.
His roots had long ago stretched so far around his base they looked like a nest of pythons.
When reading Tricia's short story, I couldn't help but think of the Ents, the endearing talking trees in Lord of the Rings. Tricia weaves a story the Ents would give a magestic nod of the head to. She even has a Part II later in the fest.

Speaking of The Ents, I think it appropriate to elaborate a bit on what these, my favorite fantasy trees, are. They're a fictional race of people who closely resemble trees from J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy world of Middle-earth. They appear to have been inspired by the talking trees of many of the world's folklores. At the time The Lord of the Rings takes place, there are no young ents (known as entings) because the entwives (female ents) were lost.

This is Treebeard, the oldest of the Ents. His motto was: "Do not be hasty." I think I shall make it mine as I try to live with a lunar calender and stay out of the rat race of modern society. The fate of the Ents is something I couldn't get out of my mind as I collated everyone's favorite trees.

Next, I would like to present Suzanne Casamento, who writes young adult fiction and, as she has now proven, poetry, writing about her favorite tree in poetic form. I think you'll all be spellbound by Suzanne's poem, drawn up the ladder to climb inside her secret hiding place and then...
Turn to yesterday’s last page
Its telltale folded corner begging me to finish
Someone else’s story

This next entry from Ed Pilolla juxtaposes nicely with Suzanne's poem. Ed is living the writing life in Hermosa Beach, California (am I a little bit jealous?), writing like a fool, in his words, but still taking the time to compose and submit Tree Rings. Hauntingly beautiful...
We journeyed our entire lives to arrive here, both of us with knots lodged within the rings of our lives,
this poem lodged in the roots of my soul. Thanks Ed.

Liza Carens Salerno at Middle Passages posts a lovely ode to New England stoicism and how she happened upon the perfect tree.
Fall seeps in via the patch of burnt-umber on the tree by the market in mid-August, through the crimson poison ivy vine twisting around a pine deep in the woods.
Thanks Liza for a native's perspective of color-seeking tourists. I want to crack a lobster and, somehow, you've made me yearn for fall colors before the Fourth of July!

V.R. Barkowski who lists amoung her accomplishments, recovering sociologist, mystery writer, and museum whore (my participants have some of the most interesting professions!), pays homage to her favorite trees through photography. You will absolutely swoon (in Tricia's words) at the photo from Savannah. And I wonder at those who could be in the shadow of such as these and not really see them at all, a thought brought to mind by her use of a William Blake quote...
Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all.

Kenneth Pobo also wrote a poem for the festival. I was thrilled to get so many poems, the highest form of human expression. Ken doesn't yet have a website or blog but I loved his poem so much I was compelled to include it anyway. He can be reached at kgpobo [at] verizon [dot] net if you want to offer your accolades.

BACK YARD BIRCH

Tall Wisconsin birches
line the highway. Light sifts
down, leaves almost translucent.
If I were the moon, I’d talk
all night with a birch, or
a forest of them, but I’m just
a guy with too much

weeding to do. Our one birch
provides good conversation.
Small, but airy, a tree
with nothing to prove. I put
violas at its base, an offering.
Catbirds, tasteful but busy,
like this tree too, a fine

launching spot on their way
to a blueberry bush. Wrens
turn leaf into recording studio.
In winter, a gray sky wraps
empty branches. Spring
will come. And when it does,
the birch will be ready.


You know I could relate to this one....to a guy with too much weeding to do but who will still take time to talk to a birch. And the last four lines are alive with imagery. Let us know, Ken, as soon as you get your site up and running!


Next, from Biologist, D.N.Lee, at Urban Science we have this entry from her travels in Europe, introducing us to the Mimosa Tree, which is also her favorite tree from childhood-

"My,fancy seeing you here. Are you here on holiday in France, too?"
"No, the trees replied, "we live here. You must be mistaking us for our cousins who live everywhere".
Indeed, I didn't know the Mimosa tree was so widespread. Nor did I realize it is sensitive to the touch, as shy as a praying mantis, and its leaves fold inward if you should touch them. Don't touch this! Thank you Ms. Lee for sharing with us your favorite tree along with memories from your grandmother's backyard.


From Marian Veverka we have this ode to the trees, a whiplash of a poem that sets us amoungst the branches of trees standing naked before the storm, limbs tossed and tangled like a schooner in a typoon. And, yet, again,
"your limbs provide the home the sparrow needs."
Thanks, Marian, for a beautiful poem that left me breathless. And honest folks, I'm not usually given to such gushing but you have all left me awed by your talent.

Next, to Lye Tuck-Po at Fieldsketches

where we have something really different, a tree/temple in the Cambodian woods. Tuck-Po, who is an anthropoligist living in Malaysia, photographed these ancient trees in Prasat Sambor, Cambodia. I think this is one of my all-time favorite trees. Who wouldn't want to enter this door and curl up inside with a dog-eared book? (One of Suzanne's!)
Just click the link to view more of these ancient trees of Cambodia. The second one is eerie and reminds me of the Alien curled up in the spaceship. I digress. Thank you Tuck-Po for sharing these stunning photos from the Cambodian woods.

From Australia, Jacqueline Yetzotis at Saving Our Trees takes us for a stroll down her street into the fork of a red flowering gum, the tree that most symbolizes Australia for her. Bird and bees love them and you will too when you see their amazing blooms. They reminded me of birds of paradise, or like something out of The Wizard of Oz with their little rosy faces. Check it out and see what I mean.

Next, from an Australian transplant, we have the unbudding of a Tulip Poplar. Joan Knapp, a microbiologist who now lives in Georgia, gives us a frame-by-frame video of the development of the beautiful flower on a Tulip Poplar tree. The progression is amazing and I was almost sad to see the dying of the flower but then realized that, too, is beautiful and essential, the closing of the circle of life.

Casey Harn shows us the inside of a different sort of a cathedral, the sort that man can't replicate with hammer and nails and architectual genius, a cathedral in the woods on the 15th Day of the Rose Moon. Now if that title doesn't pique your interest, I don't have one that will. Rose Moon is a Native American name for the moon that appears in June.

Casey posts by the Lunar calendar and uses the Native names for each moon cycle. July is the Heat Moon. Thank you, Casey, for sharing some of your Native American culture and your cathedral in the woods.

Next up are the fragile branches and purple berries of the Elderberry tree. Brought to us by Elizabeth Enslin, an anthropoligist and recovering academic based in Oregon, the elderberry has a long, rich history of delicious sustenence. (Especially in the dead of Prohibition.) Check out her pictures of elderberry clusters and tips on how best to enjoy them. I can't resist relating a personal story about how my grandpa got himself in a heap of trouble over a neighbor's jug of elderberry wine. But I'll save it until later.

The most poignant submission I received was this video story from wildlife biologist Jackee Alston who just suffered the loss of her mountain's old-growth ponderosa forest due to the human-caused forest fire in Arizona. Thank you Jackee for sharing this amazing video. We can only hope that the ponderosas will return en masse for future generations to enjoy.

From Poetry Daily, we have a killer of a poem, Twin Tree, by featured poet, Carol Muske-Dukes, Poet Laureate of California.
I stood beside you weeping,
trying to hold your heart together with my hands
at the fork where you'd leaned apart,
There is nothing else for me to say. My words pale next to hers. Hers are enough.

Suzanne Murray, an artist based in North Yorkshire, UK who specializes in calligraphy and lettering art submitted these samples of her work. I can see why these are some of her favorites.
I know a pine tree that leans over near a sea.
Suzi also blogs at Spirit Whispers and there shows us the birth of a baby Scots Pine cone and why her work is inspired by pine trees and also by the words of George Seferis- Greek poet, essayist & diplomat, and winner of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature-
One night I stayed awake all night under this tree...

On a lighter note, we have an amusing anecdote from Michelle Markey Butler who is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh and blogs atHeir Raising. Boys will be boys, but really....you wouldn't want to do this to your favorite tree!

From Becky Miller at The Rainy Day Wanderer you can browse a photo gallery of amazing tree photos she arranged just for us, from her backyard to the Asheboro Zoo and in an array of seasons. Thanks Becky.

Have you ever been to a hazelnut tree farm? Erika Rathje has. Enter here and scroll down until you come to the geometric marvel of the hazelnut tree farm with her description underneath the photo. I may never get an opportunity to visit a hazelnut tree farm. I didn't even know there was such a thing. So thank you, Erika.

And finally, I have Tricia's Part II, as promised. Waylaid at last with her, trussed and captivated, she sets us down gently.

Oh, would you like to hear that story about grandpa and the elderberry wine? I cornered my dad on the porch yesterday and made him repeat it to me so I would get it right. This is what happened.

It was 1928 and the country was tiring of Prohibition. But people became resourceful and ingenious. My grandpa, along with many others in these parts, made elderberry wine out of the elderberry blossom, which makes the best wine according to the experts, and he and neighboring farmers often got together to spin yarns and compare homemade concoctions.

Grandpa always planted the navy beans on June 6th. That morning after breakfast a neighbor came over with a jug of elderberry wine and Grandpa opened up a bottle of his. They got to talking and exchanging stories, and several glasses later he looked at the clock and said, “Hey! I have beans to plant.”
The neighbor said, “I have errands to run.”
And off they went.

Grandpa hooked up the team of horses to the drill he used for planting beans and drove them out to the field.

My dad was only eight but he remembers my grandmother looking out the window later and saying,

“I wonder why your dad is riding on the drill…”

He usually walked behind it, but there he was, sitting atop it, swaying with the motion of the horses and singing at the top of his lungs.

The next morning after chores were done, Grandpa hitched the horses up to the drill and started out towards the field.

Grandma said, “Where’re you going, Raymond?”
“Out to plant beans,” he replied.
“I thought you did that yesterday.”
“I did,” he said. “But I forgot the seed.”


It is fitting that I should close with Roberta at the Growing with Science blog . She gives us the walnut tree. I'd forgotten how beautiful this tree is. Once again, an example, I think, of a tree we take for granted. Thanks, Roberta, for reminding us of the walnut tree!

The August 1 edition of The Festival of the Trees will be at Growing With Science Blog
Theme: Trees Through a Child's Eyes
Send to: growingwithscience [at] gmail.com
Deadline: July 29

That’s all folks. I have enjoyed reading and compiling all the entries. I learned so much myself, I hope you have all gained something too. If I've made any mistakes or left anyone out, please contact me and I will right any wrongs immediately! Whew. I want to thank everyone who participated and helped make this a success.

Thank you all for reading. Happy Heat Moon!

58 comments:

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oh my. What an abundance of trees! It will take me all day or perhaps days to read through the links but I will savor them all. I love your description of the summer heat and realized how when I walk, I aim my path from one tree shade to another.
Thanks for the hard work and for your own wonderful stories. That swing and big branch on the old pear tree really spoke to the child in me and the personal value trees have to us (and, this is funny, my post today could almost be Part III because I wrote about Gayle Brandeis' DELTA GIRLS, most of which takes place at an organic pear farm.) Great job, Yvonne!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Oh Yvonne! What a beautiful job you've done! Like Tricia, I'm going to take my time and really dig into each entry. The images and snippets you presented are so alluring. Well done. Thank you!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Because Kenneth doesn't have a web site, I have to comment here that I relate to and adore the line: If I were the moon I'd talk all night to a birch (oh, I would, I would)

layinda said...

What an interesting post! Trees are under-appreciated, in my opinion.

I have an award for you over on my blog, if you'd like to take a look - I was focusing mainly on AQers, but several other interesting bloggers are on there, too. :)

Roberta said...

I love your pear tree story, it brings back such memories.

Thanks for slipping my post in under the wire so cleverly. You've done a wonderful job.

Talli Roland said...

What a great festival!

I so love trees. I grew up with the woods in my back yard and wandering among the trees was so relaxing.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm sitting in my backyard in the shade of my favourite maple tree while I'm reading your post. Perfect.

Jackee's video is heartbreaking.

We all have such beautiful memories of trees - we had a gully full in our back yard growing up - a very special place.

Thanks for doing this - lovely!

Jade L Blackwater said...

What an inspiring Festival, Yvonne. Thank you for hosting - nicely done.

Liza said...

I finished reading my book on the train trip out from the city today and thought, "What will I read tonight?" Now I know what I will read tonight, and I can't wait!

wanderingowloutside said...

You have done a fantastic job of presenting absolutely wonderful posts! I've been through about half of them, and have to say that this month's edition is awesome.

Thanks Yvonne! Outstanding!

Ed Pilolla said...

yvonne, what a magical treat here, visually and with words. it's one of the prettiest displays i've seen and the work is so fun, with a such a great mix too. thanks for this:)

Saving Our Trees said...

What a fantastic post & entrance into Festival of the Trees. I am so excited at the content & can't wait to get started. FoTT's teaches me so much. I thank you for including my post & I thank all of you who shared your stories of trees. It should be mandatory reading for all those people who think they don't care much about trees. I doubt they would come out with the same opinion at the other end.
Sadly I report that two days ago Marrickville Council ripped out a Red Flowering Gum we had planted on the garden island outside our place. It's such a pity as the local community was excited about the tree & we were told that there used to be a large street tree in this position many years ago.
With that bit of news I am off to read. Thanks again for a fantastic job.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Tricia,
Thank you so much. That old pear tree is an amazing thing. It was big when my dad was little. I have so many childhood memories centered around that tree. Writing this post really made me nostalgic. I loved your story about the cypress tree. Your two-part entry really made this festival special. I'll have to check out your post about DELTA GIRLS. Thank again. And, yes, Kenneth did a nice job didn't he?

Suzanne,
Thank you! Yes, I, myself, have to go back through all the posts in a more leisurely fashion to soak it all up. I LOVED your poem. It was one of my favorites. Thank you.

Layinda,
Thank you, and thanks for the award! I'll be right over. I'm a member of AQ too, but haven't been very active of late. Thanks for visiting me here.

Roberta,
Thanks and you're quite welcome. I thought that worked out well too with you being the next host. I look forward to that. Warning....if you haven't done one of these yet it is pretty time consuming. Thanks for the walnut tree! (the most beautiful wood for furniture, imo)

Talli,
Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it. How wonderful...a woods for a backyard!

Jemi,
Thank you so much. I'm glad you're enjoying it. The maple is one of my favorites too. Wish I could sit there with you and discuss stuff!

Jade,
Thank you and thanks for asking me. I'm glad it turned out so well, thanks to all these tremendous folks.

Liza,
Thanks and thank you for your wonderful contribution. In fact....I'm going back to enjoy it in a more relaxing fashion. My sister lives in New England so I was right there with you.

Casey,
Thanks! I LOVED your entry and I love your rose moon and now the heat moon. I just really get into stuff like that. The 3/4 heat moon is rising over the barn outside my window as I write this. Beautiful, as was your post. Thank you.

Ed,
Thank you. I sure appreciate your kind words, and the wonderful contribution you made to the festival. There would have been such a hole where yours fit if you hadn't been here. Thanks again.

Jacqueline,
Thanks and I'm so glad you submitted the red flowering gum tree. I couldn't get over them. I'm sorry to hear about the one that got ripped out. And you planted it?? Geesz...sounds like you need a new council. I nominate you!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Tricia,
Thank you so much. That old pear tree is an amazing thing. It was big when my dad was little. I have so many childhood memories centered around that tree. Writing this post really made me nostalgic. I loved your story about the cypress tree. Your two-part entry really made this festival special. I'll have to check out your post about DELTA GIRLS. Thank again. And, yes, Kenneth did a nice job didn't he?

Suzanne,
Thank you! Yes, I, myself, have to go back through all the posts in a more leisurely fashion to soak it all up. I LOVED your poem. It was one of my favorites. Thank you.

Layinda,
Thank you, and thanks for the award! I'll be right over. I'm a member of AQ too, but haven't been very active of late. Thanks for visiting me here.

Roberta,
Thanks and you're quite welcome. I thought that worked out well too with you being the next host. I look forward to that. Warning....if you haven't done one of these yet it is pretty time consuming. Thanks for the walnut tree! (the most beautiful wood for furniture, imo)

Talli,
Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it. How wonderful...a woods for a backyard!

Jemi,
Thank you so much. I'm glad you're enjoying it. The maple is one of my favorites too. Wish I could sit there with you and discuss stuff!

Jade,
Thank you and thanks for asking me. I'm glad it turned out so well, thanks to all these tremendous folks.

Liza,
Thanks and thank you for your wonderful contribution. In fact....I'm going back to enjoy it in a more relaxing fashion. My sister lives in New England so I was right there with you.

Casey,
Thanks! I LOVED your entry and I love your rose moon and now the heat moon. I just really get into stuff like that. The 3/4 heat moon is rising over the barn outside my window as I write this. Beautiful, as was your post. Thank you.

Ed,
Thank you. I sure appreciate your kind words, and the wonderful contribution you made to the festival. There would have been such a hole where yours fit if you hadn't been here. Thanks again.

Jacqueline,
Thanks and I'm so glad you submitted the red flowering gum tree. I couldn't get over them. I'm sorry to hear about the one that got ripped out. And you planted it?? Geesz...sounds like you need a new council. I nominate you!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Tricia,
Thank you so much. That old pear tree is an amazing thing. It was big when my dad was little. I have so many childhood memories centered around that tree. Writing this post really made me nostalgic. I loved your story about the cypress tree. Your two-part entry really made this festival special. I'll have to check out your post about DELTA GIRLS. Thank again. And, yes, Kenneth did a nice job didn't he?

Suzanne,
Thank you! Yes, I, myself, have to go back through all the posts in a more leisurely fashion to soak it all up. I LOVED your poem. It was one of my favorites. Thank you.

Layinda,
Thank you, and thanks for the award! I'll be right over. I'm a member of AQ too, but haven't been very active of late. Thanks for visiting me here.

Roberta,
Thanks and you're quite welcome. I thought that worked out well too with you being the next host. I look forward to that. Warning....if you haven't done one of these yet it is pretty time consuming. Thanks for the walnut tree! (the most beautiful wood for furniture, imo)

Talli,
Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it. How wonderful...a woods for a backyard!

Jemi,
Thank you so much. I'm glad you're enjoying it. The maple is one of my favorites too. Wish I could sit there with you and discuss stuff!

Jade,
Thank you and thanks for asking me. I'm glad it turned out so well, thanks to all these tremendous folks.

Liza,
Thanks and thank you for your wonderful contribution. In fact....I'm going back to enjoy it in a more relaxing fashion. My sister lives in New England so I was right there with you.

Casey,
Thanks! I LOVED your entry and I love your rose moon and now the heat moon. I just really get into stuff like that. The 3/4 heat moon is rising over the barn outside my window as I write this. Beautiful, as was your post. Thank you.

Ed,
Thank you. I sure appreciate your kind words, and the wonderful contribution you made to the festival. There would have been such a hole where yours fit if you hadn't been here. Thanks again.

Jacqueline,
Thanks and I'm so glad you submitted the red flowering gum tree. I couldn't get over them. I'm sorry to hear about the one that got ripped out. And you planted it?? Geesz...sounds like you need a new council. I nominate you!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Sometimes I hate blogger! I see it put my comment in triplicate. Well...must be a way to delete a couple of these....

Boy, am I tired!

Jackee said...

So many wonderful submissions. I can't wait to explore them all in depth. Thanks for hosting this festival!

Suzi Smith said...

Thouroughly enjoyed reading your post yvonne... your stories, the way you've woven everything together, the photo's... great job! I will be back several times to wander my way through. wonderful.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Jackee,
Thanks for the video and for sharing your heartbreaking story...where are the trees? Your piece added a lot to the whole. Thanks again.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Suzi,
Thank you for sharing with us. I love your work and it added a nice touch to the fest. I'm happy to meet you.

Dave said...

I really appreciate all the poetry in this one. As one of the festival organizers I don't want to play favorties, but this was a really special edition, Yvonne. I'm glad you could host and I'm grateful to you for bringing in all these new participants.

Wine and Words said...

Beautiful pictures. A lovely ride in and out of words and photos. Thank you. I needed a day trip.

Georgia said...

Thanks for hosting. Your pear tree is such a treasure and I discovered great new blogs, too.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Dave,
Thank you and thanks for all your support. Yes, I was very pleased with the poetry submissions. I'm so glad I didn't disappoint. The effort put forth was worth it. Your comment means a lot.

Annie,
Thank you! I'm glad you took the road trip with us.

Georgia,
Thank you! It's always special to hear from a new responder. I'm glad you like my pear tree. It think it is one of a kind.

Anne R. Allen said...

Great blog. Thanks for commenting on mine. I get to be your 100th follower!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Anne,
You're awesome!!! Welcome to my blog, 100th follower. You know I'll always remember this! Wow. Thank you.

Murphyfish said...

Hi Yvonne,
Came over from Casey's blog at 'Wandering owl outside', you have written some excellent pieces here.
Tried to publish your comment on 'musings of.....' but it seems to have lost itself in cyber space (first time this has happened!). Just like to say welcome aboard.
Best regards,
John

Judy Croome said...

Just love this post. Gnarled and wisened trees "talk" to me of days gone by and adventures yet to come. I use the legend of the Buffalo Thorn tree in my first novel (collecting the souls of the dead with the branches) and have one planted in my garden. Thomas Pakenham's photo books on "Remarkable Trees" are also a wonderful addition to any library. Lovely to join in the Festival of Trees! :)
Judy

VR Barkowski said...

Gorgeous post, Yvonne. What a beautiful gift to your readers. Thank you. And thank you, too, for hosting the 49th Festival of the trees - brilliant job!

VR Barkowski said...

Shoot - I was so taken by your post, I forgot to mention I have a couple of awards for you over at my blog! Stop by if you get the chance.

catwoods said...

The pictures and writing was beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Murphy,
Thanks. Blogger has been acting up. I was sure you'd signed up here through google connect because that's how I found you but now you're gone. (sad face) Glad you liked this.

Judy,
Thank you! I've never heard of a Buffalo Thorn Tree. How cool! Thanks for adding to this commentary and thanks for following!!

VR,
Thank you so much and thanks for your contribution and beautiful photographs. I'll be over to see what you have for me. I will, I will!

Cat,
Hi! Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it

roxy said...

Gorgeous pictures! Oh, how I love trees. I have a few favorites in my yard. A 30-year-old green Japanese maple, a deodar cedar, and a blue atlas. I usually talk to them when I'm gardening, in fact. Thanks for the wonderful post.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Roxy!
Thank you. I love ceder trees but have never heard of a blue atlas. Guess I'll have to look that one up.

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Organic Festival Colors said...

Its really a lovely description about the trees..nice pictures too..

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