Pond Ice and Green Thoughts

February 3rd, 2009

Too busy catching up on projects and activities over the weekend.  Ah, but that’s good right?  The weather can’t make up it’s mind however, swinging from cold to warm days and back again.  I think tonight the low will be around 7 degrees F, but in a couple of days the high will reach well above 50 degrees.  Just maybe this is the last really cold spell for the winter?  The ice will probably be gone in a week or so.  I’ve started making the rounds and pruning a few more trees- and it’s time to prune the apple trees too.  That’ll be a project for this weekend, along with the garden if we have time.

The snow melted off most areas around the property, but the pond is still frozen over.  I was never quite confident enough to walk on the ice beyond the really shallow corners.  I did see some folks ice fishing on a few smaller ponds in the local area.  Our pond is mostly filled from the watershed, with many warmer spots where the groundwater runs off the property- hence the ice along some of the shoreline areas is far too unstable.

I’m not sure if these cracks in the ice go all the way through, but I’m not walking out there to check either!  The snow has melted off, but the ice has gone through several freeze and thaw cycles.

Cracks in pond ice

Here’s where one of the circles in the ice has thawed, with cracks branching out.   The stump was from a hundred year old oak tree that had a rope swing on it from two decades ago.  The tree eventually died and woodpeckers tore it all apart.   I wonder how long it will last…

Hole in the pond ice

It’s not all ice, snow, brown and gray…  I found my little Shortleaf Pine tree the other day- actually there’s two of them.  They were the only two that survived after planting a couple dozen seedlings two years ago.  But this one is doing great, and has started developing branches.  

Shortleaf Pine

Naturally I picked a drought year to attempt planting those seedlings in the spring of 2007.   If I had done the same last year the survival rate would have been much higher.   But I’ve ordered more native plants again- especially smaller shrubs and trees that help local wildlife such as sumac, buttonbush, elderberry, etc.  (I love having elderberry plants around- they’re great for sauce and jelly during the late summer’s harvest!).   The plants will arrive in March or April, and I’ll spend a week or two trying to figure out where to put the seedlings.

I really appreciate Missouri’s State Forest Nursery and the fact that they make native plants available at very fair prices.  It’s almost too easy these days to choose landscaping plants that really don’t belong in many regions across the country.  We may see a plant or shrub we really like but without realizing it we end up spreading invasive species that detract from the biodiversity of the native environment.    I do appreciate new plants and beautiful landscaping, but at least for the fields and forests in Missouri’s rural areas I hope to foster a more natural approach with native plants.  It makes you wonder though- we’ve got non-native Autumnberry trees around that are very invasive, and yet they’ve been here for about a hundred years now.  I’ve got a bunch of them I need to cut back and remove, but at least the Autumnberry fruit is edible and can make decent jelly too.

Winter Sun and Fun in the Barn

January 13th, 2009

A beautiful sunny day, but cold!  And it’s going to be colder for the next few days.  I’ve been asking for snow, and look!  We actually got enough flurries to dust the ice on the pond.   I like how the trees stand as gray sentinels on the hillside- in summer you can’t see this corner of the pond very well because of all the leaves on the trees.

Fox Haven Pond in winter

The long range weather forecast doesn’t have any snow it in this month- will we go all winter with that one small snowstorm in December? 

Worked in the barn yesterday with the woodstove going- I’ve used it a couple times, but this was the first time I’ve kept it going for such a long time and it was pretty nice.  Why didn’t I put the stove in last year!?!   I had it piled in a corner, but didn’t find the “gumption” to tackle it until last fall.  I’m so glad I did- outdoor temperatures were in the high 30’s yesterday and the barn warmed up to around 50+ and a lot warmer near the stove.  That’s enough to fiddle comfortably with a host of things that need cleaned up.  In the afternoon the boy came home from school and did his homework while laying on cardboard near the stove.  He thought it was fun, and enjoyed the warmth.    

Staying warm by the woodstove

(The picture above was a little fuzzy in the darker light, so I applied some “watercolor” filtering to it.)   But working inside the barn gave me time to move some work lights around in preparation for cleaning up the work bench.  I’m embarrased to say I’ve put it off for almost 3 years!  I use it alot,  it’s just that tools and small items come and go from the bench top and it’s a disorganized mess.  And since it’s an outdoor barn/equipment shed, there’s always a lot of dust and grime.  Maybe, just maybe I’ll get started on that soon.  

But the main area inside of the barn is a different story… I’ve got that somewhat organized to maximize use of the space, and I like to keep the floors swept regularly.  It always feels so much better to keep things in order, and clean up the dust.  With tractors and mowers, dust and grass clippings are a way of life.  Our real work bench is closer to the house in the garage, and it’s in a lot better shape.  Still has a lot of junk piled around it, but at least it’s organized junk if there is such a thing!

Ramblings and Remembrance

December 7th, 2008

Brrr…. okay, winter seems to have come early this year.  Getting a lot more done inside, but at this rate we’ll be through our woodpile by the end of January.  Which is a good month and half sooner than expected!  That’s okay, just means I’ll need to split a little more on the nice days; most of it is seasoned already as unsplit rounds.   But next year?  We’ll really need to get busy.   The pond has been wavering between ice and open water the past few days.  The boy and the yellow lab are both curious, and sometimes the designs in the ice are fascinating.

Boy and Yellow Lab looking at pond ice


It’s time again also for the Festival of the Trees!  Mary at A Neotropical Savanna has put together a beautiful theme and collection of shared thoughts relating to the world of trees. 

“This issue of Festival of the Trees comes after a month of autumn color in parts of the northern hemisphere and at the beginning of a month of snow and thoughts of Christmas trees, whether you celebrate it or not. There seems to be something about this time of year that prompts reflection…”

Reflection indeed.  I love reading about the thoughts and creative endeavors of so many others throughout the world.  After all, it’s our shared Nature isn’t it? 


Time also to wish a hearty Congrats! to all you Oklahoma fans out there for the Big 12 Championship win last night.  We had better hopes for Missouri– and they have been great this season- but the Sooners are almost playing in a different league.  That and the front-end guys on the OK offensive line, I think their height ranges from 6’4″ to 6’8″ with an average weight over 310 pounds!  And that’s college football?!   It’s still fun to see- I enjoy watching a few of the bowl games over the holidays, and catching the spirit of the schools and students.   And lest I forget, Congratulations to Navy on Saturday for their big win over Army.  That’s a game of historical proportions, and many sailors and soldiers watch it all over the world.


I also send out a hearty Salute to my younger brother, an Army Sergeant Major, returned this week from Iraq and other environs.  Welcome home!


Speaking of our troops, it is also National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and we remember the service and sacrifice of so many then and now.   For me the story is unforgettable, as are the lessons it has taught.  But time has a way of fading the memories and trials of generations past.

“You say Pearl Harbor to a lot of the kids today and they ask, ˜Who was she?” Samuel E. Clower

But we lost over 2,400 Americans and almost 1,200 more wounded.  Most of those who were killed died within the first 15 minutes of the attack on the navy ships.  And the long, bloody Pacific War was set to begin. 

“I was looking out to sea at 8 o™clock in the morning and these planes started coming over and I thought, ˜More maneuvers again today on Sunday?™ Jaekel said. œI thought the Air Corps was doing a full attack. They dived and came down and I thought, ˜Oh boy, this looks like it™s real,™ and then I saw meatballs [or Japanese rising sun emblems] on the wing of one [plane] and one of them launched a torpedo. [One plane] came around the channel and it went by where I was and the rear seat guy was pumping shells, shooting at us and I just lied down and tried to crawl up between the ties. [The gunner] was so close that I could see the expression on his face. I didn™t get hit, but the guy right below me was in the phone booth and he got hit and the phone booth just shattered.”    Haile H. œJake Jaekel

And yet the U.S. and Japan have come so far, with a shared vision for world stability and peace, and as staunch allies today.  After spending some time in Japan, I can only embrace our shared history with friendship and respect, and hope that others in the world may look toward peace among nations in the years ahead.   It’s also a fitting weekend to see the nomination for the incoming Veteran’s Affairs Secretary, General Eric Shinseki, as one who will lead public policy administration efforts toward the care of our veterans, and whose own service brings his career- and Japanese-American heritage- full circle.


Sometimes things never seem to change.  Yet they do of course, and it’s important to find time to appreciate the nuances of life that unfolds around us.  Here the pond’s ice has thawed, been moved by wind and water and then broken apart. At night it freezes again in geometric patterns.

Geometric patterns in the ice

On Trees and a Life Before

November 12th, 2008

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

                                             Joyce Kilmer – 1913


 Oak Tree in Autumn


Many of us know of this beautiful poem.  When I think of trees, nothing I’ve read evokes such feeling or understanding for the simple beauty that a tree represents.  My mother had a framed copy of this poem hanging up for years that I’ve always loved, and it was her mothers’ too.   I remember wondering who Joyce Kilmer was, but never really took the time to find out about her.  Today, reading an old book of poems from 1929, I found that Joyce Kilmer was a soldier.

Sergeant Alfred Joyce Kilmer served in the 165th Infantry (69th New York), with the American Expeditionary Force in World War I.  He was born on December 6th, 1886, and killed in action near Ourcy, July 30th, 1918 at the age of 31.  Sargeant Kilmer is buried in France.  As I looked for a little more about him, I found that Joyce Kilmer was a very popular author and poet.  He had planned to continue a career in writing and journalism.  I’m sure many people knew of Joyce Kilmer before I did, and it shows how the passage of time so often leaves the stories of our lives behind.  For Joyce Kilmer, it is the poem “Trees” that people most remember.

Lest anyone think he was too firmly ensconced in sentimentality for nature or trees however,  I laughed when I read that,

… a 1915 interview with Kilmer pointed out that while Kilmer might be widely known for his affection for trees, his affection was certainly not sentimental – the most distinguished feature of Kilmer’s property was a colossal woodpile outside his home. The house stood in the middle of a forest and what lawn it possessed was obtained only after Kilmer had spent months of weekend toil in chopping down trees, pulling up stumps, and splitting logs. Kilmer’s neighbors had difficulty in believing that a man who could do that could also be a poet.”

I see no difficulty in believing that at all, and would like to think his love and connection with trees might have been joined by a practical approach to life.  When I plant a tree, or cut and stack wood for our winter’s fire, I’ll think of him and his poem.  However late, I was glad that I learned more about Joyce Kilmer personally while reading his poems from an old book, in front of a fire on an Autumn day, the day after Veteran’s day.

It was also a surprise, bittersweet and haunting, to know that a poem I’ve always enjoyed and that has brought such beauty and inspiration to so many, was written by someone who endured such hardship, and whose life was cut short so far from home.  Thank you Sergeant Kilmer, for your words and your service.


Chores and More for November

November 3rd, 2008

Such a busy weekend!  We’re still recovering from our sugar highs after a fun Halloween week.  After trick or treating we stopped by a local community center where many little games and tables were set up for the kids.  It was silly, goofy, dopey and just plain fun.  The young one loved it, and all the kids won prizes.  Nice lead in to the weekend to get a lot of chores accomplished. 

The peak of the leaf color change was a few days ago, and as quickly as the colors peaked, they are fading quickly to browns.  But it was just beautiful this past week- here’s a shot of the oak trees on the north side of the pond.

Oak trees in Autumn at Fox Haven

The big agenda was servicing the tractor- it was due for a complete service of the engine and transmission systems.  I’d never really done a lot of servicing except for oil before, but after talking with the dealer I realized I could save over $350 by doing it myself!  So after getting gallons of fluids and filters, I spent the better part of Saturday on my back turning wrenches.  It was kind of fun really, especially with the boy to help and learn too. 

I never realized how nice it is to have someone helping, especially when you need that one particular wrench that’s just out of reach.   We talked a lot about safety and why certain parts were connected like they were, and about the PTO shafts and other moving parts. I don’t know that he enjoyed it as much as I did, but hopefully he learned something.  We finished up, and it felt pretty good to save so much money.  I was dreading the cost, but learning a little how-to can go a long way.  

It was also time to remove the mower deck from the tractor, and get it cleaned up and put away for the year.   These things do a great job, but if you just let them sit they’ll rust out in a few years. 

John Deere 62D Mower Deck

After cleaning the top side, it was time to go underneath with the scraper.  After a couple of hours most of the chunks of grass, old paint and a little rust came off.  Blades will need sharpened again too.

Cleaning underside of mower deck

 Then it was time for a fresh coat of paint to protect from rust, and voila! Almost good as new.   Here’s my two helpers… one of whom figured out that after sweeping the floor it was a great place to scoot around on a skateboard!

62D mower deck after repainting it green

While sitting there scraping away, I realized that it was a better job for the winter if I could heat the barn.  Well, our “barn” is really more like a big equipment shed with a concrete floor, but we still call it the barn.   I’ve got an old wood stove and I’m thinking of buying stove pipe and such to go through the metal roof.  It’s not something you change your mind about half-way through (or after the hole is in the roof!) so I’m still mulling it over.  Whatever I do I want to make sure the roof doesn’t leak…   But I may just get all the materials this week while the weather’s still nice and try to get it done.  Wouldn’t it be great to be out there on a cold, snowy day with a toasty-warm wood stove!?

Not to be outdone for Autumn, here’s my little bonsai maple tree.  This little guy is over 4 years old now believe it or not, and that’s a petunia flower growing in the pot.  My goal is to shape it like a mature tree eventually, but to keep it about this size.  I had two of them, but the other one grew too fast and I didn’t keep up with it.  But it’s neat to see how small some of the leaves become (they’re about the size of a nickel), and I enjoy watching it change colors in the fall.  We’ll see how long I can keep it growing! 

Bonsai Maple tree in Autumn

Fungus Amongus and the Trees

August 16th, 2008

While wandering the property this week I found a fungus bonanza in an area where the grass has not been cut under the trees for many weeks.   There were probably five or six varieties in a small area.  The fungus is fascinating to look at, but I have to wonder if they are also a sign of a greater problem with the landscape and trees?  

Oak tree decline is a problem in Missouri and other states, and it may affect us locally as well. Over the past few years we’ve lost 3-4 large oak trees, most likely stressed due to drought conditions during the same timeframe.  Once stressed, the trees are more susceptible to insect and fungus damage.    It’s hard to see a 70 or 100 year old tree die.  But I’ve planted other native trees in the landscape as well, and with a little luck they’ll achieve a similar stature one day.

 Dead Oak tree

Some of the tree decay and loss occurs naturally of course, but hopefully it won’t happen on a large scale over a short timeframe.   I see a few other trees that we may lose in the next year as well.  Although we’ve got a lot of trees on our small acreage, if we lost 3-4 each year, it wouldn’t be too long before our landscape changed dramatically. 

 I’m not sure what type of fungi this is, but there were a half-dozen scattered around looking like brown turtles!

Fungi that looks like turtles

Among the different types of plain looking fungi in the area, this red topped mushroom stood out.

Red fungi of uknown type

For now I’ll need to cut down several of the large trees that have died.  Sometimes  it’s good to leave a dead tree or two as a snag host for woodpeckers, insects and other wildlife.  But a few of the trees are in areas where people walk and play, and can be quite hazardous when the large branches let go.  And if I cut the dead tree down within the year, we’ll have a good supply of firewood to help keep energy costs down.   Every little bit helps. 

Editors note:  I wrote this a few days ago, to post in absentia while we are canoeing down some lovely stretch of Missouri river this week.  See you in a couple days!

Festival of the Trees #26

August 1st, 2008

It’s time for the August 1st, 2008 edition of the Festival of the Trees!  This week I find myself off traipsing (is that really a word?) across the north-central U.S. straggling from park to campground while seeking wifi connections.  We’ve ventured through oak-hickory forests, flooded farmland and endless cornfields.  No matter how often I’ve traveled this or another country, I’m amazed at the changing nature of the land (and especially the plant life) around us.   But here from the road is the Festival of the Trees.

As we enter the warmest days of summer, we are thankful for the shade of trees. The mornings have been cool, and the evenings bring a welcome respite from the heat of the day.  But could we ever imagine what our world might look like without the magic of trees?   It might look like those endless cornfields, or the pasture beyond the trees with a nice grassy meadow that is cut for hay every year.  But quite empty!

Of course deserts and oceans have their magic, yet I find that trees bring a unique contrast and perspective to life and somehow provide an extension of our vision and imagination.  This picture for example, taken by a 7-year old, sought the blue sky through the canopy of White Oak leaves and reaches through treetops for something more.

Blue sky through White Oak canopy

We so often lose our childlike wonder as we grow older, but seeing nature through the eyes of children allows us to remember it.  Seabrooke shares such wonder from children of the past and the heritage of The Royal Oak posted at The Marvelous in Nature.

Silvia, aka Salix Tree of Windywillow, shares a beautiful stand of Beech Woods.  Few trees strike such a magical chord within… I could get lost for hours among such gnarled branches!

And Wendy at Naturally Connected finds A Tree with a Special Message Inside, wondering if anyone else has seen something similar?

If you’ve ever been among the Giant Sequoias you almost feel messages of a different kind, and are humbled by the thousands of years they have stood tall among the moments of time on earth.  How does one grasp any sense of perspective while laying among the feet of these sentinels and looking up for hundreds of feet?

Laying among the Giant Sequoias

Rebecca from Pocahontas County Fare shares a more reflective view of Coleridge and how our imagination is often different from reality with This Basswood Bower My Prison (and those Rain Lizards are pretty neat too). 

Sometimes the same trees bring understanding and joy in new ways.  Shai Gluskin from EveryDayandEveryNight.com reflects on the personal history of a neighborhood tree with Linden Light and Shadow.

Yet so often our imagination reigns supreme. Jean at Tasting Rhubarb shares some shadowy Tree Creatures from the past.  They remind me of autumn, not so far off now, and becoming dizzy with flickering light and shadow while driving down a tree lined drive. 

Jane at Wrenaissance Reflections wonders Is There an Xfile for Trees?  I’ve seen many a storm damaged tree, but is there an explanation for this one?

And what would the roads of life be like without trees and forests?  I love a road that disappears among the trees for it conceals, for a moment perhaps, what new wonders lie beyond to surprise our fancy and stir the heart.

The road disappears among the trees

Sometimes we know little about the journey in the same way that we know little about a tree.  Yet it’s the journey that often reveals so much.  Pam Johnson Brickell  falls in love with a Loblolly Bay in the Low Country Wild, and has the chigger bites to prove it!   The pictures reveal her beautiful artwork and notes.

Mary Farmer shares her love for the science of trees with Deciduous Trees in the Tropics posted at A Neotropical Savanna.   Her site is an amazing labor of love, and an educational bonanza for those who want to learn more about plants and trees.  Count me in… or maybe I should just take a trip to Panama!?

Maneesh from Bangalore, India doesn’t share much about the trees, but he does share some amazing pictures about his beautiful country and the Singara Tea Garden.  

Jade Blackwater presents a New Book Release by Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees posted at Arboreality – Tree Blogging.  Dr. Nadkarni’s book explores the countless ways that humans relate to trees in every aspect of our lives. Arboreality has so much about trees it’s amazing, and she shares the posts of several other bloggers below.  Thanks Jade!

In Stream of Thought at Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge we see a shadowy picture of a tree along a stream with equally shadowy thoughts.  I love the picture, and most of the poem….  Very creative and, ah, somewhat disturbing! 

Yet where some see shadow, others see light.  I am always amazed too by the size and shape of leaves.  Here we see Mulberry leaves glowing in the afternoon sun.

Mulberry leaves in July

Kate shares the connections she finds with Trees posted at Seeing is a Verb, and reaches even deeper to explore Trees, Roots and Suffering.

And Ash shares some interesting facts about Rock Whitebeams in Holyrood Park posted at Treeblog.  I didn’t even know there was such a tree!

The wonder of sharing our photography is that so few words are really necessary.  Something I forget at times, but Lene of Counting Petals reminds us quite simply that sometimes all we know of trees is what is left behind.  Almost like driftwood?  That might be a neat idea for a future edition of the Festival of the Trees, with pictures and stories of driftwood.

Yet today there is nothing left behind, and I thank all of the contributors for sharing your thoughts and creativity. I look forward to seeing you again… down that tree-lined road of our imagination.  Best wishes!

Shades of Green

July 6th, 2008

Trees.  Those amazing mostly green things we so take for granted.  What would we do without them?  They bring to the world clean air, strength, beauty, shade, biodiversity and even help supply our energy needs in winter.  So much more than a simple list of course, but even so we usually just look at them, or through them.   Lately we’re enjoying the shade from our trees as the summer heat sets in.

Trees in summer in Missouri

But on August 1st we’ll look a little more closely while hosting the Festival of the Trees right here at Fox Haven Journal.  Nothing fancy, just an eclectic mix of pictures and words shared by creative people who appreciate the wonder and magic of Trees. 

So you are most welcome to join us, even if you think writing about trees is crazy.  But you’ve got to admit, they’re pretty darn useful.   If you have a treeish blog post to share, you can submit it through the online submission form, or through our Contact page.

Maybe we’ll find a pattern in the mix of submissions, and perhaps some kind of theme will emerge.  But don’t count on it; I’m still trying to put the puzzle of my own life together.

Flowers and Trees for May Day

May 1st, 2008

A break in the wet weather these last few days has really helped with getting some work finished. And we actually had a frost a couple days ago- I was concerned about the flowers and trees. But we lucked out and the only damage was to our tomato plants in the garden. And they were covered?! They’ll still grow from the bottom, but the tops were frostbitten in just a few hours.

The flowers and leaves coming out on the trees are amazing, so Happy May Day! The oak trees are almost finished blooming… not something we think about often perhaps, but the flowers, or catkins of this Red Oak tree hang downward shedding a great deal of pollen. The trees sort of shine or sparkle with reds and yellows as the new leaves emerge. This should be a strong year for acorns, and next year as well. And all the critters should have a strong year too as population cycles swing up and down based on the forage available.

Red Oak tree catkins in spring

Speaking of trees- the Festival of the Trees will be up today and hosted by 10,000 Birds. What a wonderful site, thanks for hosting the festival! Birds have been a passion of mine since youth. I’m waiting to see if the beautiful Summer Tanagers that came by last year will return. I’m not sure where they nest, but they didn’t remain here long. Like the Orioles they seem to pass by on their way to somewhere else. But we have too many wasps around, and the Tanagers can help with that. Now after I get my bees I may feel a little differently… ;)

The wildflowers continue to bloom too, and it seems this year there are more flowers than ever. Maybe from all the rain? Or maybe just my excitement for the season.

I like the colorful blues that Wild Phlox and Birdsfoot Violet provide to the understory. They come and go so quickly it seems, and next week the Bloodroot and May Apples should be flowering.

Wild Phlox flowers


Birdsfoot Violet

I still haven’t found any morels, but maybe it’s just an off year. One of the cub scout families took a class with a “morel expert” and they walked the landscape for an entire day not finding a single one! He said that in very wet years, the morels will grow underground more. Of course we were hiking last weekend and the guy in front of me found a nice white morel on the side of the trail…

Our Nature with Trees as Inspiration

April 1st, 2008

It seems to me that among the many things we have in common as humans on this great planet earth, is a desire to share our interests and creativity with each other, even when we do so somewhat anonymously :)   Technology has leveraged this ability for so many of us, and allowed amateur journalists and photographers to start their own published works.  Why do we write or take pictures, and share our thoughts with other people we may never meet as more than mere pseudonyms? 

Perhaps it is more than that… we are sharing our nature with each other, and our love for the larger Nature of the world around us.  Inspiration comes in many forms, but today it comes from Trees.  

Festival of the Trees

When I submitted a post on The Tuning Fork Tree for the wonderful Festival of the Trees this month, I didn’t have any idea that it would be hosted half a world away in Sao Paulo, Brazil! 

But it’s true- this month the Festival of the Trees is hosted by Alive Trees in Our Lives … soon to include an english translation if it’s not there quite yet.  Being ever curious however, I found a little help from Alta Vista Babel Fish, pasted the link to the site, selected Portuguese to English, and then translate!  Isn’t technology wonderful?  Then I was able to read not only the wonderful festival post, but also to discover more about Alive Trees in Our Lives and their mission:

“To promote and to develop action and projects that value the trees, creating a culture of encantamento, recognition and preservation, always with much joy, creativity and integration.”

 Would encantamento be charm or enchantment?  It missed that word, but when you visit the Alive Trees site you get the idea, and then understand that the Trees and forests are the inspiration and mission.  What a joy to find themes of Nature shared here and there.  But then again, we really are on the same journey, aren’t we?

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