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Thread: Soul Gardening

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    Default Soul Gardening

    Are we Soul Gardening or Gardening the Soul?

    I have always loved gardens - not so much the formal, strict kind, but more the soft, rambling type. I dream of gardens that sing of forest clearings, sheltered thickets, meandering meadows, and shining hillsides. I hope to create such a place one day.

    This is a thread to pause, breathe and garden the soul.

    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Peace and beauty from this lovely Japanese botanical garden.


    Quote Tokyo Univercity botanical garden Nikko branch, Nikko city, Tochigi
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Avalon Member East Sun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    This beautiful Earth is beyond incredible, beyond words to describe it.

    And we are destroying it.

    That is what grieves me most in this life.

    The reasons are beyond anything we collectively know.

    So, we need to spread what we know far and wide...……..

    ES
    Question Everything, twice or maybe trice..........

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Beautiful, your spiritual objectives are awesome, great !

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Quote Posted by Cara (here)
    Are we Soul Gardening or Gardening the Soul?

    I have always loved gardens - not so much the formal, strict kind, but more the soft, rambling type. I dream of gardens that sing of forest clearings, sheltered thickets, meandering meadows, and shining hillsides. I hope to create such a place one day.

    This is a thread to pause, breathe and garden the soul.
    What a beautiful idea for a thread Cara – thank you

    I dream too of my own garden. Somewhere to wrap my spirit around the foot of a tree, and fall asleep in the grasses. Dream with the earth. Plant my own seeds.

    Some gardens seem to have a flow to them that’s somehow both balanced and wild. More alive than other gardens. I tend to think that some extra vitality is brought by the presence of nature spirits, which I feel is tangible; not an airy-fairy (no pun intended) indulgence of the mind.

    I have a folder full of gardens I’ve gathered in my internet journeys, so thought to share a small selection here...





    And this is a photo I took in Spring last year, down near the water in a park nearby...




    It’s incredible to think that seeds contain the blueprint for life that can grow so tall and give so much. I always feel blessed when one of these gentle ones comes to visit me at home, indoors. Just the other day one of them followed me into the bathroom at night. It was like having a friend in my little abode. Today I found one in the entrance in my block, cupped it in my hands and took it with me outside to set it free again. I wonder where it went. Wherever it went it took its tender glow, its lightness of being... :


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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Quote Posted by Melinda (here)
    ...What a beautiful idea for a thread Cara – thank you

    I dream too of my own garden. Somewhere to wrap my spirit around the foot of a tree, and fall asleep in the grasses. Dream with the earth. Plant my own seeds.
    I feel as though I have just met a kindred spirit . You paint such a beautiful picture, thank you.

    Quote Posted by Melinda (here)
    Some gardens seem to have a flow to them that’s somehow both balanced and wild. More alive than other gardens. I tend to think that some extra vitality is brought by the presence of nature spirits, which I feel is tangible; not an airy-fairy (no pun intended) indulgence of the mind.
    Yes, it’s almost as though nature and the gardener become partners in creation. And then there is a shared “space” which is a gentle flowing of life.

    Quote Posted by Melinda (here)
    I have a folder full of gardens I’ve gathered in my internet journeys, so thought to share a small selection here...
    Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures - especially the one you took - I do hope you will share more from your file.

    Quote Posted by Melinda (here)
    It’s incredible to think that seeds contain the blueprint for life that can grow so tall and give so much. I always feel blessed when one of these gentle ones comes to visit me at home, indoors. Just the other day one of them followed me into the bathroom at night. It was like having a friend in my little abode. Today I found one in the entrance in my block, cupped it in my hands and took it with me outside to set it free again. I wonder where it went. Wherever it went it took its tender glow, its lightness of being... :

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OtpHHrirAFY
    Lovely video, thank you!

    When I was a child, we used to walk down the road (a hillside) to the park at the bottom. There was a storm water stream at the bottom and the grass either side was full of what we called “puff-o-clocks” - we blew on them and the number of breaths was the “time” .

    Now that I reflect on it, it might be a rather apt metaphor: children’s breath blowing the seeds of time into the wind.
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Quote Posted by Cara (here)
    Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures - especially the one you took - I do hope you will share more from your file.
    Quote Posted by Cara (here)
    When I was a child, we used to walk down the road (a hillside) to the park at the bottom. There was a storm water stream at the bottom and the grass either side was full of what we called “puff-o-clocks” - we blew on them and the number of breaths was the “time” .

    Now that I reflect on it, it might be a rather apt metaphor: children’s breath blowing the seeds of time into the wind.

    How lovely! Thanks for your sumptuous reply Cara.

    What a beautiful story. “Puff-o-clocks” made me smile. When I cupped my hands around the seed yesterday I could feel them warming up with healing and happiness, and when I blew her away she actually floated back to me. It was tempting to invite her to stay but I gave her a breathy nudge in the hope she'd float to somewhere richer with green life. Possibly you cloaked the seeds with intent, whispered from your spirit. The seeds that became flowers may remember. In the Anastasia stories told by Vladimir Megre (whether you take them as truth, or just a true story of no-one in particular) if I recall - she speaks at one point of holding seeds beneath your tongue for a moment, before planting, to encode the plant with more awareness of you, so its relationship when it grows can be more attuned to you individually.

    Below are a few more photos that I've taken.

    These two are in a garden that I love to visit. In spring the lawn is blanketed with daisies, and I feel like I can feel their joy. An ocean of tiny people. Although I did PaintShop a butterfly in, as I caught the house owners' dog from behind and in fairness she may not think it's her best side :




    Just some juicy beauties I saw on my park travels :



    These below I photographed indoors. My old flat was very small, with plants all over the living room. I'd place flowers in cups and little vases at different levels all around them, and there were always conversations going on. The plants would strike different poses like dancers, poised mid-swirl. The first pic below really tickles me, as it was only after taking it that I saw a song bird in the shadow.

    Last edited by Melinda; 13th August 2019 at 01:51.

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Quote Posted by Melinda (here)
    ... These two are in a garden that I love to visit. In spring the lawn is blanketed with daisies, and I feel like I can feel their joy. An ocean of tiny people. Although I did PaintShop a butterfly in, as I caught the house owners' dog from behind and in fairness she may not think it's her best side.
    ...
    I'd place flowers in cups and little vases at different levels all around them, and there were always conversations going on. The plants would strike different poses like dancers, poised mid-swirl. The first pic below really tickles me, as it was only after taking it that I saw a song bird in the shadow.
    Thank you Melinda - those fields of little white daisies are dreamy, I can see why it’s a favourite place to visit.

    Another little story from my childhood is that my parents report that when I was about one, I used to sit on a lawn of daisies and eat them. I was a “flower child” (in the literal sense) from an early age it seems.

    The roses are lovely too, with their soft velvety pink.

    There is a fabulous Khoisan myth about the strelitzia flower being the frozen form of a too proud bird who annoyed the gods! It’s got all the usual elements of animal fables being lessons for life but has the unusual character of not being equivocal that things are worse the bird once it has been frozen as a flower.

    Your flat sounds as though it was lovely, full of life and green and gentle light! I can just see the flowers dancing about through the day.
    Last edited by Cara; 14th August 2019 at 10:50.
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    I wanted to respond separately to this part:

    Quote Posted by Melinda (here)
    When I cupped my hands around the seed yesterday I could feel them warming up with healing and happiness, and when I blew her away she actually floated back to me. It was tempting to invite her to stay but I gave her a breathy nudge in the hope she'd float to somewhere richer with green life. Possibly you cloaked the seeds with intent, whispered from your spirit. The seeds that became flowers may remember.
    It reminds me of the way that Machaelle Wright writes about gardens and plants in her project, Perelandra. She has a website full of information about working with plants on an energetic and spiritual level. It’s a whole different world: https://www.perelandra-ltd.com/

    Here she is writing about the different perspectives of people and nature to gardens:

    Quote ...Humans tend to look at gardens as an expression of nature. Nature looks at gardens as an expression of humans. ...
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Stunning thread. Thank you Cara and Melinda.
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone when we are uncool." From the movie "Almost Famous""l "Let yourself stand cool and composed before a million universes." Walt Whitman

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    One of my favourite sounds in the morning is hearing the birds begin their tweeting and chattering. When the light is still grey and quiet, the birds awake and begin their days. Even in the heat and desert conditions of Dubai we have some lovely birds that visit (doves, hoopoes, thrushes, mynas, little sparrows,...)

    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    This thread is pure joy for the mind, heart and soul! Thank you for your wonderful contributions and inspiration!

    Much Love,
    Julia

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Thank you Valerie and heretogrow . Lovely to see some other nature lovers.

    Quote Posted by Cara (here)
    Another little story from my childhood is that my parents report that when I was about one, I used to sit on a lawn of daisies and eat them. I was a “flower child” (in the literal sense) from an early age it seems.
    I love the story. Sounds like you were a magical little person. I can picture your eyes lighting up at at all the delicate nourishments, while other kids were busy feasting on factory chocs and sugary bon bons.

    Quote Posted by Cara (here)
    There is a fabulous Khoisan myth about the strelitzia flower being the frozen form of a too proud bird who annoyed the gods! It’s got all the usual elements of animal fables being lessons for life but has the unusual character of not being equivocal that things are worse the bird once it has been frozen as a flower.
    I looked up the myth. How epic. Perhaps that particular flower was reaching out to me to capture a wisp of its original spirit. They're an unusual flower. I was just looking them up and read that they represent freedom, joy and faithfulness. Also royalty. Which makes sense looking at the photo I posted. That little shadow bird looks quite regal with his proud little tuft at the tip of his head.

    Thank you for the Machaelle Wright (Perelandra) link in Post #9. Wonderful pic you posted as well. I've stashed it away in my forests folder.

    Below are a few more pics from my park travels.

    The first two are of a busy bee. I got very close, and he didn't seem to mind, too busy bee-ing I suppose. Might have helped that I thanked him psychically for doing his bee business, and told him I wanted to take a good photo to share :




    This is a magnificent tree opening I stumbled across. And below it is a PaintShop version I made for a photo book for my young niece years ago, with text about the adventures of Nature Spirits. Apparently my niece connected with the book. I'm hoping it assisted her awakening, to appreciate the wild :



    This next one reminds me of how stunning the park was the day I took this. Everything glowing with a warm, golden aura. On the cusp of summer and autumn :



    A winter visitor :



    I once felt guided to a place in the park where I came across a dying crow. I lay down to pray and watch over her as she passed over. At the moment of her passing, dozens and dozens of crows came flying in from all around, filling the air with their calls. A few of them seemed to be suspicious, asking why I was there. The next day I was visited by several of them who came calling and swooping outside my window. I felt they were acknowledging me, and letting me know they knew why I'd been there. If I'm lucky they still call to me sometimes. When I've followed them into the park I've always been glad that I did.

    This next one is a favourite, since I photographed the scene on Valentines day, and it appears to me like a heart with a Cupid's arrow :



    Recently I was meditating down by the lake where the swans are and this spectacular blue dragonfly came gliding in front of me, and then seemed to vanish into thin air. They're so speedy those creatures. I also met a tiny yellow butterfly. Looked like a buttercup that had taken flight.

    The park is alive with all kinds of wonderful stories. Furry people. And silky beings.

    Some day I may just make it to the fairy pools in the Isle of Skye, or James Gilliland's ranch. I gather nature spirits abound at the latter.

    What can you say? Flowers, plants and divine tree beings just make life better. Deeper, and richer. The flowers and seeds are like the purest spirits. The oldest of trees like ancient sages. All a part of this unfathomably beautiful planet. Tugs at my heart sometimes. When I think of the sheer variety of life - how we are only one specie among millions here.

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Melinda, your lovely post has me meandering through Japanese swan paintings, flowers that look like swans, memories of trees, and all manner of beautiful things. Thank you!

    I will share when I come to a good place to pause

    For now, Ralph Waldo Emerson:
    Quote Nature always wears the colours of the spirit
    Last edited by Cara; 17th August 2019 at 11:26.
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    I feel that the creator meant for us to Garden and Joy in the creation of animals and plants and to not create pain for any living thing. Instead we are enslaved in a system that owns our time and energy and forces us to go where we should not. People should be growing individual gardens of beauty and food instead of being Rolling Stones that Gather No Moss.

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    So, the beautiful photos that Melinda shared above sent me on a wonderful ramble.

    I was particularly entranced by the Valentine's Day photo of the swans . A precious moment, a signal from nature, that love is everywhere present.

    In my meanderings, I found some simply lovely flowers. Their petals and colours are so evocative of swans - their elegance, their grace, and their stillness.

    Swans in conversation


    The Wild Swans at Coole
    BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

    The trees are in their autumn beauty,
    The woodland paths are dry,
    Under the October twilight the water
    Mirrors a still sky;
    Upon the brimming water among the stones
    Are nine-and-fifty swans.

    The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
    Since I first made my count;
    I saw, before I had well finished,
    All suddenly mount
    And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
    Upon their clamorous wings.

    I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
    And now my heart is sore.
    All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
    The first time on this shore,
    The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
    Trod with a lighter tread.

    Unwearied still, lover by lover,
    They paddle in the cold
    Companionable streams or climb the air;
    Their hearts have not grown old;
    Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
    Attend upon them still.

    But now they drift on the still water,
    Mysterious, beautiful;
    Among what rushes will they build,
    By what lake's edge or pool
    Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
    To find they have flown away?


    Swans in flight


    Winter Swans
    by Owen Sheers

    The clouds had given their all -
    two days of rain and then a break
    in which we walked,

    the waterlogged earth
    gulping for breath at our feet
    as we skirted the lake, silent and apart,

    until the swans came and stopped us
    with a show of tipping in unison.
    As if rolling weights down their bodies to their heads

    they halved themselves in the dark water,
    icebergs of white feather, paused before returning again
    like boats righting in rough weather.

    'They mate for life' you said as they left,
    porcelain over the stilling water. I didn't reply
    but as we moved on through the afternoon light,

    slow-stepping in the lake's shingle and sand,
    I noticed our hands, that had, somehow,
    swum the distance between us

    and folded, one over the other,
    like a pair of wings settling after flight.


    Swan who wear their hearts on their chests
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    Quote Posted by Melinda (here)
    ...I once felt guided to a place in the park where I came across a dying crow. I lay down to pray and watch over her as she passed over. At the moment of her passing, dozens and dozens of crows came flying in from all around, filling the air with their calls. A few of them seemed to be suspicious, asking why I was there. The next day I was visited by several of them who came calling and swooping outside my window. I felt they were acknowledging me, and letting me know they knew why I'd been there. If I'm lucky they still call to me sometimes. When I've followed them into the park I've always been glad that I did.
    Melinda, this is so special and wonderful, your communing with the birds... and the park... and the sky .

    Thank you for sharing it. You gifted a dying bird with love and care. I hope it carries those gifts close wherever it may travel. Perhaps the other crows know?


    ~~~

    A garden poem that I wrote seems appropriate here - I imagined this particular old man in his garden when I wrote it.


    Slow

    Slow is the old man come cane-walking by
    as his memories parade softly behind
    the penetrating gaze of certain, blue
    eyes.

    Slow is the dripping of the cast-brass tap
    as its thread wears away under pressure
    of time, water, and the caress of
    hands.

    Slow is the fading of blue from his shirt
    as it wanes with the growth of moss on bricks
    made into walls, for having and holding
    her.
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    On and off I have been reading a little about Ancient Hellenic and Roman mythology. I came across a charming myth about a water nymph, Egeria. There is a spring near Rome dedicated to her:



    Here is a little story about the spring and Egeria herself (it’s in Italian-English, so a little eccentric):
    Quote Considered holy since ancient times, the Egeria Spring is located in one of the most evocative areas of the Roman countryside, the Caffarella Valley. Known also as Fonte delle Camene or Fonte dell’Acqua Santa, the spring remained hidden for many years inside a grotto, protected by the neighbouring Sacred Groves.

    The Nymphaeum of Egeria was built later, around the second century AD. Rising in the vicinity of the spring and dedicated to the cult of the nymph, it appears today as a sort of niche, once lined in white marble, its large vault covered with mosaics.

    ...

    Protector of childbirth and fertility, the wise and beautiful Egeria was venerated along with the Camenae, the goddesses of spring water.

    It is told that Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, had secretly fallen in love with her, and went every night to the Sacred Groves to meet her.

    Thanks to Egeria’s spiritual guidance and her divinatory rites, the king was able to keep his people out of war, promulgate fair laws, and implement early Rome’s political and religious reform.

    Upon the death of her beloved, the nymph, in her sorrow, melted into tears. Taking pity on her inconsolable weeping, the goddess Diana transformed her into a spring. The source then became a place of worship sacred to Romans for many centuries thereafter.
    From: https://www.egeria.it/en/the-water-source/#contenuto1

    In the 1800s, German painter Frank Ludwig Castel painted the scene, The Grove of Egeria:



    ~~~

    I like to think that Egeria is still there, at the spring, bubbling her wisdom into the water
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    A moment

    Cherry blossoms
    and other blooms
    decorate the mind
    with colour,
    the heart with peace.

    Petals flutter
    their flickering
    wings into the light,
    breathing in
    the cool spring air.

    ~~~


    Quote "Heaven on earth", is a good way to describe the Haradani-en Garden. Haradani-en, located in Northern Kyoto, is a privately owned garden that is a host to beautiful cherry blossoms. The garden has 20 different types of sakura and over 400 trees. Enjoy!
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Soul Gardening

    And the garden, still beautiful in its solitude, remains ....




    This poem from Elizabeth Barrett Browning seems apt.

    Quote The Deserted Garden

    I mind me in the days departed,
    How often underneath the sun
    With childish bounds I used to run
    To a garden long deserted.

    The beds and walks were vanished quite;
    And wheresoe'er had struck the spade,
    The greenest grasses Nature laid
    To sanctify her right.

    I called the place my wilderness,
    For no one entered there but I;
    The sheep looked in, the grass to espy,
    And passed it ne'ertheless.

    The trees were interwoven wild,
    And spread their boughs enough about
    To keep both sheep and shepherd out,
    But not a happy child.

    Adventurous joy it was for me!
    I crept beneath the boughs, and found
    A circle smooth of mossy ground
    Beneath a poplar tree.

    Old garden rose-trees hedged it in,
    Bedropt with roses waxen-white
    Well satisfied with dew and light
    And careless to be seen.

    Long years ago it might befall,
    When all the garden flowers were trim,
    The grave old gardener prided him
    On these the most of all.

    Some lady, stately overmuch,
    Here moving with a silken noise,
    Has blushed beside them at the voice
    That likened her to such.

    And these, to make a diadem,
    She often may have plucked and twined,
    Half-smiling as it came to mind
    That few would look at them.

    Oh, little thought that lady proud,
    A child would watch her fair white rose,
    When buried lay her whiter brows,
    And silk was changed for shroud!

    Nor thought that gardener, (full of scorns
    For men unlearned and simple phrase,)
    A child would bring it all its praise
    By creeping through the thorns!

    To me upon my low moss seat,
    Though never a dream the roses sent
    Of science or love's compliment,
    I ween they smelt as sweet.

    It did not move my grief to see
    The trace of human step departed:
    Because the garden was deserted,
    The blither place for me!

    Friends, blame me not! a narrow ken
    Has childhood 'twixt the sun and sward;
    We draw the moral afterward,
    We feel the gladness then.

    And gladdest hours for me did glide
    In silence at the rose-tree wall:
    A thrush made gladness musical
    Upon the other side.

    Nor he nor I did e'er incline
    To peck or pluck the blossoms white;
    How should I know but roses might
    Lead lives as glad as mine?

    To make my hermit-home complete,
    I brought dear water from the spring
    Praised in its own low murmuring,
    And cresses glossy wet.

    And so, I thought, my likeness grew
    (Without the melancholy tale)
    To 'Gentle Hermit of the Dale,'
    And Angelina too.

    For oft I read within my nook
    Such minstrel stories; till the breeze
    Made sounds poetic in the trees,
    And then I shut the book.

    If I shut this wherein I write
    I hear no more the wind athwart
    Those trees, nor feel that childish heart
    Delighting in delight.

    My childhood from my life is parted,
    My footstep from the moss which drew
    Its fairy circle round: anew
    The garden is deserted.

    Another thrush may there rehearse
    The madrigals which sweetest are;
    No more for me! myself afar
    Do sing a sadder verse.

    Ah me, ah me! when erst I lay
    In that child's-nest so greenly wrought,
    I laughed unto myself and thought
    'The time will pass away.'

    And still I laughed, and did not fear
    But that, whene'er was past away
    The childish time, some happier play
    My womanhood would cheer.

    I knew the time would pass away,
    And yet, beside the rose-tree wall,
    Dear God, how seldom, if at all,
    Did I look up to pray!

    The time is past; and now that grows
    The cypress high among the trees,
    And I behold white sepulchres
    As well as the white rose, --

    When graver, meeker thoughts are given,
    And I have learnt to lift my face,
    Reminded how earth's greenest place
    The color draws from heaven, --

    It something saith for earthly pain,
    But more for Heavenly promise free,
    That I who was, would shrink to be
    That happy child again.
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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