Failure Examined

Well I’ve been back in the United States for well over a month now after my time over in Europe was cut dramatically short by a series of unfortunate events that I won’t get into right now, as that’s for another post some other time. But what a funny feeling it is to be back home in a country that doesn’t feel all to familiar anymore.

To have to relearn little habits that were temporarily forgotten in place of new little habits. To have to get use to being around a life that was completely separate from the one over seas. It’s almost as if a book was set down to begin another, but the second book was ripped from my hands and burned in front of my very eyes by a malicious creature. So now the first book, clumsy and unfamiliar in my hands has to be re-picked up and begun from the page I left off on, although all the other characters in the book are chapters ahead of me now.

Or hell you can even compare it to transferring a fish into a new tank. Except before you transferred the fish you didn’t let the waters get to be quite the same temperature. So when you dump the fish into it’s new home it seems a bit dumb dazed and confused for the first few minutes as it has to rapidly readjust to survive from pure shock.

Or something like that at least.

The feeling of failure was quite potent the first couple weeks of being back home, shortly followed by depression. Now this isn’t to say I was completely miserable and hated my life or anything like that. As humans are complex beings, capable of feeling multiple emotions at any time. Things aren’t quite so black and white all the time. I was happy to be back, don’t get me wrong, and to see all my friends and family, but who I was as a person, and the direction of my life was deeply effected.

All I’d been working and planning for for the next year was now over in a turn of a day. The worst case scenario hadn’t even been touched, for this fate was far far beyond that, or anything I could have imagined. I suddenly had to figure out how to continue forth with my life, how to proceed now that I was back home, jobless, schooless, and so on. It was quite the reality check.

But failure is a sort of funny thing. As I said things aren’t always so black and white, and failure if looked at in a certain light is not such a bad thing. For failure offers opportunity. It offer the opportunity to step back and breath for a quick second. To examine ones cards, to evaluate what was lost and what was gained, and how to build something new with this new hand. And generally the new things is often grander and more beautiful than whatever you had before.

For even though you failed not all was lost, not at all. Sure you didn’t reach your end goal, but the end goal isn’t the only tangible thing to be gained from a journey. For between the beginning and the end so much is to be gained.

A load of experience to be had and learned from. Experience that wouldn’t have been found and had if you hadn’t attempted your goal, and that experience sticks with you regardless of the outcome of the task. And if the task does fail then additional knowledge is gained. The knowledge of how to do better next time.

For there is always a next time, or next project, or next journey. So failing shows how to avoid future pitfalls. What works and what doesn’t. Ect. ect.

But perhaps most importantly failure pulls one out of whatever tunnel vision they may have been engaged in. It rips you out of where you were, and allows you to examine other opportunities in your life. You can really examine what it was your were doing in a more unbiased light, which can offer insight that wasn’t there before. Or perhaps even make you realize that what you were really doing was foolish or even wrong, but you couldn’t see it at the time for you were completely enveloped by it.

As when you’re enveloped in something the lines become a little bit more blurred and blended to fit your will and end goal, which can be dangerous and maybe even not at all what you wanted and were going for in the first place. You were just so blinded that you couldn’t see it.

So, failure is not always a bad thing. It should be welcomed and praised. As all great things are not ever done in their first attempt. And great things wouldn’t have been so great if they had not been failed, modified, reexamined, re-put together and approached in new ways under new lights.

I’m in the process of re putting the pieces back together now, and forming a new future game plan. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t all enjoyable to do and to fail, and there’s a long way yet to go. BUT I’m grateful in certain ways that it did happen, and I’m glad things are still moving forward and a new hand has been dealt to play with. For the future still looks bright, and still remains an adventure.

Paris: The beginning

The bus pulled up to a station that my mind had forgotten for over a year now. Yet the second we pulled into the parking lot it was illuminated by memories long forgotten. My eyes danced around the lot frantically searching for Jade.
At this point in my travel I’d been quite excited to be reunited with Jade after having been without her love for well over a month and a half now. But pulling into that parking lot I wasn’t sure how to actually cope with the reality I was about to be thrust into. My mind reeled and soul vibrated with the excitement and anticipation of the beauty that was about to take place. It’d prove to be a reality that was a vast improvement to any other I’d ever lived in. A time that would quickly become my most beloved ever had.
I retrieved my bag and scanned the parking lot for those blue eyes that no other worldly fix could replace. She was nowhere to be seen. Where could she be and how would she be arriving? Bus, metro, cab? I hadn’t the faintest clue, but put my money on the metro so I wondered off that way with my bag strapped to my back to a whole city that called, waiting to be rediscovered and explored.
The metro station proved to bear no fruits so with confusion in my heart I headed back to the bus station. Right before I arrived back into it’s holy gates that welcomed travelers from all corners of the world I heard her call my name. My heart stopped and reality suspended in an eternity that would kick off the next ten days, which flew by all to quickly. We walked toward each other with wonder in our eyes, not sure if we should betray our feelings in believing this moment was real. But it was, and we drank deeply from it as we embraced and kissed the kiss that would seal the saddness of our domed departure from one another days later.
These sorts of reunions simply don’t seem real for the first few long moments. You’ve forgotten so many small details that come rushing back in a flood of emotion and memories that overwhelm and numb all the senses, truly leaving you blinded by love. We couldn’t even remember how to properly hold each others hand in our excitement as we strolled back to her apartment a mere thirty-five minutes away.
It was mad how much I’d forgotten in a short time. Even after countless hours of skyping, but a lens always has a way of betraying the true picture of the world. I was lost in her beauty all over again, and all the things that made her my favorite. The way her bottom teeth didn’t line up in a neat row, giving her a splash of cuteness even in the depths of her mouth. How her laugh could rock my world to it’s core, banishing away any feelings of ill will at the drop of a joke. Or even how her soft curves felt under my palm as I held her close. I was already getting all tangled up again in her world and my soul felt to be in the same place as my head and heart for the first time in a long time.
It was unfortunate however the responsibilities that had to be maintained while I was in the city. Jade still had her job, and that cut into our time quite a bit. But it made us appreciate our time together that much more, and gave me opportunity to explore the city on my own as well, or prepare whatever surprises I might cook up over the next week and a half.
Her responsibility called upon her a few hours after my arrival and she was off to work for the afternoon, leaving me alone on that first day to catch up on my sleep and prepare myself for the days that were to follow. A welcome respite from the weariness from the road.
Time finally did roll around though and Jade was soon off work and we were on our way to our hotel room booked for our first night together. We deposited our bags in our magically themed hotel, complete with Houdini posters, magic top hats and even a pet rabbit that made its home at the front desk. We were off into the city after our quick pit stop. Jade had her city to show me and we were eager to get started. We strolled through a little runners park, complete with columns of old roman inspiration and many a little ponds that any romantic could lose their reflections in. We strolled, hand in hand, confessing how weird it was to be together in this city that neither of us could have envisioned ourselves in a year before with one another. It all seemed so unreal as we made our way to a little sushi joint that provided us with energy for the rest of the night.
We ate and made our way back to our room to rest our now tired feet and to relieve our hearts filled with tension. We drank Champagne and gazed upon the sky through our window that painted our room with a golden light as we melted into each other. Finally all time seemed right again with her back in my company. The stars fell back into their holy places and my heart-felt to be functioning at it’s normal romantic speed. All the world hummed and brimmed with new opportunity and light illuminated by our happiness. It was the beginning of a short time that was sweeter than any other period of my life, and anything was possible.

To be continued…

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French Toast (Part 2.)

Summer 2014 was getting close to rolling around, stirring up my wanderlust as promises of adventure loomed. But my future summer was still quite uncertain at this point. I was trying desperately to get to Europe, but all my plans kept falling through. Twice I’d tried, and twice I’d failed in securing tickets, and finalizing plans. A madness and desperation inside me was starting to set in.

While this whirlwind was in the process Jade informed me over Facebook that she’d decided to extend her stay in Ireland in order to see me when I came. An arrival that was still very uncertain at that point in time, yet it gave me a bigger purpose and reason to get there. Luckily things finally came through and my friend Ian swept in last minute and purchased me a ticket over to Europe to go pal around with him for a while. With that my fate was sealed. We journeyed and wondered through Amsterdam and London to arrive in Ireland some days later, where Jade was apparently waiting one me. A feeling and news that I didn’t know how to process or feel about yet. Nervousness, excitement, and longing ravaged my soul.

Things with Jade didn’t click immediately however, and my doubts grew. About two weeks into my stay all us interns had a night into town like we often did, but this was my first time out with Jade since last summer. I was paralyzed and had no idea what to do or how to act. My doubts about anything between us had crippled me and left me lame and inattentive all night. Wondering what could have been in some alternate universe where things worked out for me.

 

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As we made our final run of the night for traditional kebabs to cap off our drunken escapades Jade confessed her disappointment in me from the night.

Crushed, utterly cut in two. A year later, after hopes being born, anticipation grown, and many a night left wondering it all came crashing down in front of my eyes. I reached out to touch her back and apologize for anything I’d done and make things right, but she ran away from my touch and in my mind my time was over with Jade. All that would be left was months with her in the house. Killing myself over what I could have done right.

Later that night I was sitting in the living room reading my book before departing for bed while Jade was in the kitchen making some midnight snack. “Jeremy you know I’m obsessed with you?” My head reeled, unbelieving of what I’d heard. Things really were okay. We once again confessed our feelings for each other, and the fear that the other had moved on from last summer. Things somehow worked out again, and thus began our relationship. In the dim lit living room of Eclipse, just feet from where we’d met the year before.

Our love began and lasted for roughly two months in Ireland while she remained at my side there. We soon had moved into the same room, which she decorated in the cutest and most simplistic of ways. We spent our evenings together, and tried to surprise each other with the coming of each new day. Be it with little notes left to be found throughout the day. A bouquet of flowers picked while she was away doing a chore. Or even a night spent away in another house complete with champagne, candles, and bagels.

We couldn’t help but fall in love as we got to explore the inner contents of each others heats and learn who the other really was. Confessing fears, and speaking of hopes and dreams. Telling little histories about ourselves, and always striving to make the other smile while milking every second out of the day together that we could. Things were simple, beautiful, and unreal.

 

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Although the day came when she finally had to go. A traumatic separation for the both of us. We had no idea what the future held for one another, when we might see each other again, or what would happen. We were scared, desperate, and confused. A sad way to be separated from someone you’d fallen madly in love with. But we made it work with messages in whatever form we could send them in, and hours upon hours of skyping. Thank god for technology.

A few weeks after her leaving good news finally developed. I was going to get to see my love again sooner then I’d thought. I had to make a trip out of the country for my visa, and I could go pretty much wherever I wanted. So a plan was made to visit Jade in Paris and spend 10 days with her in the city of love. A perfect setting for our reunion.

 

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… To be continued in Paris

French Toast (Pt. 1 of 2)

 Her absence was like the sky, spread over everything. She hasn’t been around for a while now, and her distance has been felt and experienced day in and day out now for a little over a month. Waking to the thought of her plastered across my mind. Looking across my now empty bed that seems colder that it’s lost her warmth and smile. We enjoyed the seconds together as they ticked on by whilst she was still here. For a second with her was more sublime then a whole year of adventure without her.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Her name is Jade. A beautiful little French thing with thick black hair and blue eyes that could cut right through any man, and leave him disarmed and hopeless for days to come. But her eyes are one of the many things that make her who she is. With a sense of humor that is goofy and quick, although perhaps sometimes accidental and unintentional, but it only adds to the charm. Kind and caring, although a bit stressed out at times, but she keeps it well balanced in her eternal tug of war.

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I remember the first time I laid eyes on her. Well past a year ago now, in this very same house in Ireland. I’d been in Europe for eleven days at that point. Been in two countries, with Ireland being my third and most sacred, Crossing thousands of miles to arrive to the kitchen in which I first laid eyes on her. Every single mile seemed to gain a purpose, and each trial and tragedy of the road got washed away in her warm radiant light. She sat there making apple crumble, leaving me speechless in the doorway, not knowing what the hell my move was. And that’s where it began.

Over the course of that summer I fell hopelessly for her, even if I didn’t try, it was an act that couldn’t be avoided. Which killed me and my sad soul for a majority of the summer for I didn’t have a hope that she’d ever love me back in my young foolishness. Although twists of fate and reality can be a bit unpredictable at times.

A week before she left a night came when I couldn’t contain myself after a night out with her. Nights out at that point had just become a thing of torture. Sure I could dig on the town, and enjoy myself enough, but with Jade around my soul ached and yearned for more. It knew it wasn’t at it’s full potential, and that to learn her mind and make it apart of me would only make me a better man. So I bent ever bit of my will toward that girl and hoped for the best. Later that night it worked out, she had feelings for me as well. Thus our love affair began in the light, while my heart took a deep breath.

As I said though this was a week before she was due to leave, and neither of us had the faintest clue of when our paths might cross again, so love seemed hopeless at that point. And what do you have when love is hopeless? How can a being accept that, move on, and live as if it were never tasted? For living in the shadow of a passion is to much weight for my soul to bear. Everything becomes less sweet after, and you linger on, searching for a fix to fill you up to the man you once were.

So summer 2013 ended, and so did our love for a brief time. Although at the back of our heads we still yearned for each other and kept the spark alive enough to make it on through to next summer, where neither of us knew what was to come.

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Fires, Music, and Adventure

I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around some thoughts. Like if I were back home in the states I’d be starting college in a few short days, and as a result the summer is quickly winding down to a close. Or even that I’ll be away from home for the next year, doing something different from the other avenues that I’ve been walking down my whole life. It can be a little intimidating and frightening at first. You feel the knots in your stomach begin to twist and turn. But really at the end of the day it’s a breath of fresh air, and the promise of adventure. Adventure that’s lurking all around you, just waiting to be had and found.

Needless to say these last few weeks have not been devoid of adventure in the slightest. I’ve been enjoying one of my favorite batches of people who I’ve encountered in a long time. People who bring passion and flavor from all around the world, from Belgium to Argentina. It’s a group of travelers through and through. People who are mad for life, always wanting and willing to make the next night better than the one before. Never tiring, or never giving in to some of lives simpler demands.

Jamming has become a regiment of our nightly routine. Martin, our Argentinian man who has soul pouring off of him in every form and fashion dances around the neck of his guitar, making it howl and sing into the night, while the djembe has begun to infect my soul with a new passion. An instrument I’ve always longed to play, but never had the proper chance to has finally found its way into my hands and heart. Oh and what a pair we’ve made with Martin. Him leading the way with his melodies and blues on into the night, never relenting and always shoveling more and more wonder into you.

A few nights ago we even got to add a few people in on the festivities. A trio of french hitchhiker had found their way onto our land and pitched their tent in some far off corner, but managed to find their way to our company before our nightly processions had begun. A welcome addition as well, for what is love and passion if it is not shared? They seemed grateful and happy to be there as much as we were. They stomped and bobbed into the night with us, everyone looking like fools with grins plastered across their faces, digging each others souls. But like the summers wind they had come and gone, leaving us with the memory of their sweet company blown across our cheeks.

But the adventures have not been limited to music and long conversations on the mind and the world. There has also been fire. Fire that burned brightly into the night, refusing to relinquish its power. Fire that threatened to burn down a whole field if not respected and stoked and loved. Fire that burned into all of us and brought us closer together while it illuminated our faces with its red romantic glow. Fire that we had started and in the night, but smoked and held on through the next three days to come. Through rain, wind, shine, and its own eternal heat, a reminder of what was had and gone.

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The night had started off simple enough. Food, a couple of drinks, and a rumor of a bonfire that was impending later in our night. Although none of us except for Juan knew the magnitude of this rumor. We figured this fire would be like any other and on our time schedule, not the other way around. But as we had gotten to the spot where the wood and other materials were stacked, and the flames started to grow we saw that we were wrong. But we were not sorry or sad for it. We had good company, a little brew to keep our spirits going, and each other to share in the flames with.

As we all burned on music was eventually brought out, and once the fire was contained and no longer needing much attention the conversation and stories began to flow. We talked and drank and grooved into the night. Fire dancing in our eyes, as it can only dance in the mountains in Ireland, where the air is fuller and where the mountains enchant your very being. But as all nights must it had to end. But the spot is still scorched in the earth for a little while longer. A memento of a night come and gone.

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These are just a couple of the adventures had over the last month, with only a handful of people I’ve experienced them with. As I haven’t even breached into the times Sonny and I have had, which will be a whole post or two on its own. But the adventures, memories, and life we’ve been living keeps me going, keeps me happy, and keeps me burning bright. I still can’t wrap my head around the thought that this will be my life for the next year, or that one day it will have to end.

Nomstock and Apologies

I feel like I’ve let myself down slightly since I’ve been over here. I’ve been writing a lot in my journal, I’ve been recording adventures. Yet for some reason I haven’t been sharing them on here. I’m not sure why either is the worst part. I could chalk it up to laziness, or ever being to tired at the end of a long day of work. Although at the end of the day there isn’t a great excuse.

That being said however I’m going to do my best to get an adventure on here a week, as I have a day off a week so it only makes sense. So without further adieu we shall begin.

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We rolled over the hill with the sun of a long days work at out back. Now don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a hard days work. A long day and a hard day are two very different things. Anyways, a six pack of cold Guinness pressed gently to my back, stemming the heat off just enough to make the last rays of the sun bearable.

It was a six pack we’d won earlier, on the same quad we rolled in on. We’d raced around the knee high grassy field earlier that day like mad men in a desperate battle to win our now coveted prize that was cooling my sweat. Looking at us you wouldn’t have known we were working.

I didn’t realize that the time was already passed 8 and our guests, Laura and Maura, had arrived. The two girls were casually leaned against the porch as we pulled up to a stop. Before that point I was ready to arrive home and eat some dinner and drink one of our cold brews, fate however had a different idea in mind. Maura was introduced before Laura and before Sonny shooed us off to go get a shower and get ready for the nights proceeds.

I grabbed a shower beer to get me prepared for whatever was about to come. Twenty minutes later, after a more proper introduction and a bit more acquainting we left six strong for the festival. Ready to dig whatever was to come.

More clumsy awkward talk was had, as new friends do, on the way to the venue. Although we were all only in each others lives for going on 30 minutes at that point it was nice to have new faces around. Faces that were just as mad on life, and capable of making the most out of things as you were. Who were ready to live and love and be happy. The sort of people I always cherish to meet, as it always feels like an “at last reunion”, almost like meeting fellow kin.

While the sound of the band was being checked Juan and I wondered off to go see if we couldn’t track down some beer, or any sort of social lubricant. We found ourselves in a granola organic little cafe, with some sort of clever name. Only to find however that the festival was bring your own beer due to some ridiculous Irish law.  Which only made me feel all the more the fool, as I was the one who had forgotten to grab out brew bag.

The band finally got their tunes going and Laura and Maura showed back up to join the group after an unknown little venture. They suggested that we retire for a bit to a little park that was just over the hill, and we eagerly agreed. Adventure was on all our minds.

Swings added nostalgia for the moment in time while we began to reminisce. We explored past teenage feuds and lamented on how terrifying it was that all our teenage friends all seemed to be having kids or getting married. A strange phenomenon that we didn’t understand. All the while we realized that our teenage years seemed like an altogether different life then the one we now resided in. Strange how realizations are had.

The hungry midges finally decided to come out though, as the sun relinquished her fiery grip on their air. So we decided to move our little pow wow back to the lights and the music, an area those damn bugs still hadn’t discovered.

We were greeted by a groovy, more soul filled rendition of “That’s all right” by the king, and we swung into the dusk. Juan and I danced and when the song had finished Laura made the move to ask what I thought of it.

“Makes me want to move, and fills my soul with a groove.” Her warm smile cut through me. Some how, with music as our conduit, we arrived on her recent hobby of the ukulele. I revealed that I played as well and so our friendship grew. As all new friends do we agreed to meet again soon and jam.

Our time had grown to an end though as Meg and Sonny were ready to go. So a hug was given to the new friends, and a hope born to meet again as we departed from one another. On the way back home my head buzzed with regret and wonder. If only I’d stayed. Why the hell didn’t I stay? The answer was simple, a long day of work for both that day and the following day. Although I know in the future I’ll just remember the regret and not the four hours of extra sleep I got in exchange.

 

Verses from the Road

Mindset and inspiration are two of the most difficult things for me to acquire. I’ve spent my whole entire life in one of two places for the most part. Wyoming and Arkansas, and when one is in the same place for an extended period of time sometimes they have a way of falling into routine, which can be a killer of inspiration and mindset. These are a part of the reasons why I am always looking to break free of those things, for mindset and inspiration are beautiful things capable of re-imbuing one with new strength, energy, and outlook. 

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During this European trip, starting in Amsterdam and ending up here in Ireland I’ve gotten my fair share of new inspiration. But the things about inspiration is one never knows when it’ll strike. It’s almost like love, it seems to be waiting around every corner, eager to spring out and knock you off your feet. Which fair to say I’ve been knocked silly a few times this trip. But you must be as prepared for this sort of thing as possible. For if growth and knowledge aren’t reaped from inspiration then it’s inspiration wasted and tasted in vein.

It’s for this reason I always have my journal or a notepad on my phone ready to go. To capture the beauty and highlights of travel and life. Because time has a way of washing those things away if effort isn’t made to preserve them.

That being said here are a few verses from the road that have been derived from inspiration here and there that I’ve managed to capture. They are in no particular order, and some thoughts may turn into more expanded posts in the future, but enjoy…

 

“I hate looking through trip photos while on that same trip. It’s a sad reminder of what is to come. That in whatever amount of time that photo album will come to a close and be finished. The entire trip becoming a phantom of the past.”

“To dream without direction is a dangerous thing. No mater how contradictory that seems. For to dream in to chase an unknown. A pursuit of a rare and elusive thing. A hunt that’ll take many unknown turns, and that may seem altogether lost at times. But to do this without direction, without an end goal is killing the beauty of your dream before it’s captured. Don’t chase something down for the greedy thrill of it. For if you do capture it, and don’t know what the hell you are to do with it, in your unfamiliar and trembling hands, then you failed your dream. But to pursue with purpose and an end goal ensures the cultivation of your dream once it is caught. To be able to incorporate it into your life and live with it, rather then against it or with it haunting your foolishness.

“Living in the shadow of passion is almost to much weight for a soul to bear. It starts cracking at the foundations and structural flaws begin to show true. Everything becomes less sweet, and you seem to be a lesser version of your then complete self. Trying to find a fix becomes a daily occurrence. Always nagging at the back of your mind and is the driving force behind the tips of your fingers. Your body becomes a slave to your hearts whims, and failure becomes a word that must be disguised to avoid madness. So such veils as “learning” and “progress” soon begin to stem failures all to familiar sting.”

“I lived in the land where the drunken man sang and the sad man intoxicated his soul. Where the land never ceased to roll out before you, just like the time that were had and gone. I met friends and allies and killed nights with talks of war and tragedy and plagued our minds with visions asunder. Old castles served as abodes to ghosts to conjure up to scare out children our of wrong doings again and again and again, while we were afraid of doing wrong ourselves again and again and again. It was in the land of the emerald, the black Guinness and the blood that stains the gypsies fists that I was born again and again and again. Baptized by the love from a foreign tongue, transformed by the beauty that spills from the mountain tops where the sheep bleat their lives away.”

“The present is a funny thing. Always full of surprises that the future never seemed to have on offer. Events intertwine and give birth to new possibilities, while in a months time the whole course of your life can change from where it was three months before. Where you were three professions different then what the present seems to hold.”

“I long for the moments when my thoughts are more beautiful then any music that could fill the air. When the company of a warm conversation is more real and true then any fix could satisfy. When my love rests at peace in my arms and the rest of the world fades away.”

 

I’ll leave you with this. A little album of photos from adventures had so far on this trip across the pond, I just hope this album doesn’t close anytime soon…

 

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