stopping with eyes wide opentoMake™ Press & Editions

WOW! WHAT A RIDE!

I’m getting ready for the 2018 Beaverhead 55km Ultra in a couple of weeks. Actually I’ve been getting ready for some time already; ever since last years dance along the continental divide.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a ride!’”

Hunter S. Thompson

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GO FOR A RUN ANYWAY

Along the river trail this morning; cold (37.5˚F), fresh snow on the mountains, rainy, wet and ankle deep on muddy trails. Oh well, go for a run anyway.

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“Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our private world”

Arnold Newman

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THE DAY IS GOOD

Out for an early morning run on Global Running Day #globalrunningday . . . flowers, sky, earth, birds, deLight of being alive and breathing hard. The day is good, really good.

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GATHERING TOGETHER

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Freshly Green and a Local Dinner (Msla Grain & Veg)

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Trail Running Gathering at Marshall Mountain (Runners Edge and Run Wild Missoula)

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A BRIEF OPPORTUNITY

Seizing the opportunity to interact and experience the Other; the ‘living, ever-surprising world around us’ … a sweet 8 mile run today along the muddy river, food of a different sort.

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YA) The River
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Finishing the Blue Mountain 30K

“You can think of death bitterly or with resignation ... and take every possible measure to postpone it, … Or, more realistically, you can think of life as an interruption of an eternity of personal nonexistence, and seize it as a brief opportunity to observe and interact with the living, ever-surprising world around us.”

Barbara Ehrenreich | Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer

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EARTH DAY

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First stop above the “M” before crossing the face of Mount Sentinel to the Pengelly Ridge climb.

Dancing on the hills, this morning a 12+ mile 2,100’ climb up Pengelly Ridge to Mount Sentinel and then down a very icy snow packed covered Smokejumper trail to the river corridor and back. What a joy, a deLight, breathing hard, legs tired, softly touching earth I wore the Sokra/moccasin shoes.

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Pausing on the climb up the ridge to Mount Sentinel.

The 1200’ ascent up the exposed Pengelly Ridge is the most challenging for me. I have to walk sections of the climb. I was reminded that today is Earth Day and that 48 years ago while a student at Oberlin College I invited Gary Snyder to speak for the first Earth Day, introducing him before I set off for Canada later that year. Those years we had such hope and held such vision for a “future to be possible.” A future not bleak or dark like the oil-gas-coporate dominated agenda today. . .but one where the #EarthToo is held in high regard, in reverence and in respect.

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The climb up Pengelly Ridge.

On the way I pass a startled deer, chickadees, buttercups and later on icy snow in the shadows. After the climb up the ridge and before you get to Mount Sentinel (which is actually lower that the ridge top) you pass through a quiet forest grove. I go slow here and listen to the pines and grasses and wind. . . and Gary Snyders poem dances past in the shadows.

Piute Creek

One granite ridge
A tree, would be enough
Or even a rock, a small creek,
A bark shred in a pool.
Hill beyond hill, folded and twisted   
Tough trees crammed
In thin stone fractures
A huge moon on it all, is too much.   
The mind wanders. A million
Summers, night air still and the rocks   
Warm.   Sky over endless mountains.   
All the junk that goes with being human   
Drops away, hard rock wavers
Even the heavy present seems to fail   
This bubble of a heart.
Words and books
Like a small creek off a high ledge   
Gone in the dry air.

A clear, attentive mind
Has no meaning but that
Which sees is truly seen.
No one loves rock, yet we are here.   
Night chills. A flick
In the moonlight
Slips into Juniper shadow:
Back there unseen
Cold proud eyes
Of Cougar or Coyote
Watch me rise and go.

©Gary Snyder, "Piute Creek" from Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems.

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Mount Sentinel above the Missoula Valley and just above the lake shores of Glacial Lake Missoua.

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PRACTICE RESURRECTION

Sunlight on the north hills open space trails; dancing on a run this morning. “I sing the body electric” indeed. Liberation on the hills. Resurrection.

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Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know. So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed. Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Listen to carrion — put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth? Go with your love to the fields. Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry

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NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR STRAVA TIME

SPRING INTO GOOD OPEN SPACE CONSERVATION LANDS PRACTICES

1. Be prepared for mud! Walkers/Runners - go through it down the center of the trail. This ensures our trails aren’t expanding and eroding conservation lands. Bikers – stay off muddy trails. Bikes leave ruts in the mud that will be there all season. Don’t want to get muddy – go in the morning when the ground is more solid or hit a trail in one of our parks
2. Be a responsible dog owner – spring means snow melt and lots of “presents” appear from the winter. Pick it up, toss it out. Bags on the side of the trail won’t walk themselves to the trash and are you really going to pick it up later?
3. Have awesome trail etiquette – hikers/runners and uphill traffic always have the right of way.

REALLY NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR STRAVA TIME BUT YOU.
Be aware – take an earbud out if you’re recreating with music. Look up, be alert, recreate in control, be kind, high five people on the trail. Our open space lands are our shared resource.

Missoula Parks & Recreation Open Space

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Missoula, Montana Open Space Lands

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TO THE FULLEST

Once again, I made Run Wild Missoula’s 1200 Mile Club, running more than 1500 miles last year.

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer. But don't think that's the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me. . . I believe many runners would agree”

Haruki Murakami | What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

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My favorite shoes, moccasins, to touch the earth gently underfoot.

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Spring of 1968 48.9 440yds.

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Summer 2013 Lake Superior 50M Ultra.

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Autumn 2014 Blue Mountain 30K.

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GOING SLOWLY

Never mind the weather; get up, get dressed and go out for a run. It was wet (a light but steady rain making the trails icy), cold (29 ˚F) and windy (10 knts from the canyon). Going slowly, I got in a 10km run followed by a warm bath.

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

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The view from the east window into the canyon.

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CROSSING THE RIVER

Ten miles run and ten crossings of the Clark Fork River this morning. The challenge was to approach and cross each of the five bridges twice and from opposite directions with no backtracking. I had to make up a little plan prior to leaving. The only portion of this downtown run that I don’t care for is along West Broadway between Orange and California Streets. Otherwise three of the five bridges are foot bridges and most of the run is along riverfront trails. There are still icy sections and in the counting I did also cross a sixth bridge over Rattlesnake Creek. There are, or is, simpler route solutions but I wanted to get in ten miles!

“You must accept the fact that others don’t see what you do.”

Louise Bourgeois

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Crossing the River

Adding in Russell Street bridge is a possibility but the sidewalk there is narrow and close to fast traffic, still I might give it a try and make it six bridges and twelve crossings. I’ll have to redo the route plan not to backtrack across a bridge & cross each bridge from opposing directions. Here’s a possible plan:

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BEING GRATEFUL DOES NOT MEAN

I managed not to slip and fall today; making a challenging 9 mile loop around town, up into the north hills and along the river corridor. But winter running means cleats, keeping a watchful eye and a slower pace. Meena the Cat seems to be professional couch cat these days. I’m grateful for many things and many people these days; especially my wonderful wife, the cat, my feet . . . and a warm place to live and work.

“Being grateful does not mean that everything is necessarily good. It just means that you can accept it as a gift.”

Roy T. Bennett

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The bulletin board in the alleyway at toMake™ . . .

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Winter walking & running is dancing of a sorts.

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We take a cat nap together.

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TO SEE OUR OWN LIGHT

It wasn’t as cold this morning as had been, 8.1˚F with a light 3 knt wind, but there was a wonderful cover of fresh snow everywhere. Early light I ran slow along the river trail out and back six miles, the only tracks through the deep snow until . . . somewhere along the going a coyote and I made eye contact on the trail. YA) the animal leaving only tracks mingled with mine. Then it was Christmas.


“We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.”

Hildegard von Bingen l from Selected Writings

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Morning Piece

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Christmas Shirts and Ties

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SO THIS IS WINTER

This week is the Winter Solstice, longest nights of the year. And it is also the Fourth Sunday of Advent [Love] tomorrow. The Equation of Time is 4min 17sec fast. The 2018 Calendar from toMake™ is in the works. We found all this new snow this morning. Along the river, after a bit, mine were the only tracks beside the deer, the rabbits and other small peoples . . . quiet/hushed all the way out to the gate by the railroad tracks; a snowy eight miles. ‘So this is winter’ with the sun now rising at 8:15 MST and days 8hrs 32min. long. Just two more winter share markets, but then comes spring!


“So this is winter – and what remains of the world now that autumn has left us, gone underground with the once luminous grasses and the husks and seeds of all the left-behinds. This is the cold season. Learn to endure it.”

Laura Lush | “Winter,” The First Day of Winter


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INSIDE THE RIVER

It was just 15˚F with 5knts wind when I went out for a run along the Clark Fork this morning; eight miles wearing the lightweight Skora moccasin-like shoes so it was a nice quick pace. Then laundry, cleaning the floor, cleaning the cat box, emptying the recycling, etc. . . Saturday housekeeping. And, of course, picking up our winter vegetable share at the market, always a delight. After all that I had some time to work on the reassembly of the espresso machine. There was a tiny grain of the de-mineralizer that was clogging up the solenoid and . . . I hope I got everything back in the way it should. I kept looking at the inky black water of the river, the icy edges and the flows of ice moving downstream. So what stories inside the river remain untold and unsung ? Such things pass along absorbed into the cottonwoods and willows. This time of year a rawness, exposing stories too lost and fragmented to put back together. In this manner they hide from assembly unfinished.


“Inside the river there is an unfinishable story and you are somewhere in it and it will never end until all ends.”

Mary Oliver | “What Can I Say,” Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

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RESTORING MY SOUL

I go for a run this morning; dancing and stopping and restoring my soul.


“Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”

Alice Walker


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SATURDAY

Saturday and in the early first light I go on an 8 mile run along the river stopping at the bend to watch the mist, I do the laundry, bring back a bounty of our ‘winter harvest’ vegetable share from the market, walk endlessly about with the cat on my shoulders in the afternoon sun, count the fallen leaves, pick a few remaining apples . . . YA) my life is burning with beauty.

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“Beauty is something that burns the hand when you touch it.”

Yukio Mishima | Forbidden Colors

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the Image Gallery is online

A lot has happened since I last posted to this blog… too much recount but in coming days I’ll try. I’ve made some images available for friends in several folders. They tell the story of several memorable events and trips. The image gallery is located here.

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July 8th I completed the Beaverhead 55K Ultra run; a 35 miles adventure along the continental divide between Idaho and Montana.

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August 21st I drove to the Mount Borah trailhead in the Lost Creek Valley of Idaho to experience the total eclipse of the sun.

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September 28th I hiked the 22 mile Dawson-Pitamaken loop in Glacier-Waterton NP for my 68th birthday.

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October 6-7-8 we delighted in the wedding celebration of our son Nate and now daughter-in-law Ursula.


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Live or Die

Every Event is a GIFT … however some events are challenging, difficult, involve suffering; most, perhaps. Get up, do my practice, run 10 miles in the early deLight, respond to a blank sheet of paper … take action, and live. Ann Sexton (1928-1974), in her most celebrated collection of poetry, Live or Die (1966), a fictionalized memoir of her recovery from mental illness, ends the sequence of poems with Live. I heard her read from ‘Live or Die’ and ‘Love Poems’ in the autumn of 1969 in Cleveland OH. This is what we need to do; live … but don’t poison everything.

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“With one long breath, caught and held
in his chest, he fought his sadness over
his solitary life. Don’t cry, you idiot!
Live or die, but don’t poison everything . . .”

from an early draft of Herzog by Saul Bellow

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Again, the Song

A sunrise run in the north hills. YA) what places my feet take me. Again, the song. Shirt off but then the weather comes; cool and a light wind. Stopping, stepping, stillness into this wonderment of a day. I always try to go too far ….

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“Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth.”

Albert Camus

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practicing

When life presents the inevitable challenges and disruptions, as it is currently doing, it is the personal practice(s) that become so important. It is too late in the game to start, only the hopefully long and fully embedded practice(s) can help and help they do. I meditate & sit, do a morning piece and I run. This past weekend I managed a beautiful ten mile trail race on single track in Lolo with 2,000 of elevation up and then down. My legs got a bit tired on the downhill so I slowed carefully and took in beauty of a cold spring rain. I’m practicing still.



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Sunrise Dance

For the past six years to get to the Easter Sunday sunrise service I have used my wonderful feet dancing about upon the earth. I’ve had this practice running every day during lent and ending with this six mile run, the last 2 miles of which is a long uphill. I leave at 5:30 and cross the Colville River before sunrise. This year under waters of a 100 year flooding in the valley. Early morning, it was just 20*F with fog in the hills and Venus rises, the waining gibbous moon setting, daylight & the earth turning, deer, silence. Everything in motion, turns, now.

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Crossing the Chewelah - Colville River Valley before sunrise Easter Sunday

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Crossing the flooded Colville River sunrise Easter Sunday

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An Uncertain Future

With spring announcing itself with a violence of weather, flooding, rain, snow, and a not altogether unexpected but nonetheless unwanted forced departure from Chewelah and the Parsonage, we look to an uncertain future. Meena the Cat and I went out in the blue sky sun today and watched a train make its way south past the meadow.
Just a few more times to run in the valley. I made a nice circumambulation this morning, 7 miles and stop’d to watch the mists lifting effortlessly off the fields and dance away. Mid-sixties with little savings and no jobs we are nevertheless blessed with many strengths, even a nice studio space, and faith that the Joy and deLight and the miracle of life and beauty will cary us on.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

Meena the Cat
train passing by

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Silly Human & High Water

I got a new old rug for the upstairs studio, cleaned it and set it on a nice pad. This will make morning exercises a bit more comfy. However Meena the Cat has decided that the rug is hers, not mine; silly human. I cannot keep it flat on the floor ! The snow is mostly gone from the river trail making morning runs less hazardous, I was able to go out along the trail all the way to the gate this morning without having to jump snow patches. The Clark Fork River is muddy and high. The river usually crests in late May to early June but right now it is 12,200 cf3/s which is considerably greater than the usual mean discharge for March; 3,490 cf3/s. If I read the data correctly this is a record for this time of year, the previous being from 1972. On another water note; once again our insurance will not cover damages to the flooding in the Parsonage basement. I wonder what good is insurance‽ I’ve submitted several claims over the years always having been rejected. They pay their adjusters a lot of money to find out how not to honor any claims, always in the small print there is a reason. Silly human don’t you realize that insurance is just another word for scam.

Meena the Cat

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Sucking Wax

Saturday at the Parsonage is quiet. I did the laundry, took a long run with some hill work covering a good 8 miles, fed the cat, vacuumed the house …. but all along I’ve been thinking about different kinds of food. What comes to mind are summer trips into the backcountry of Glacier-Waterton International Peace Parks. It’s an amazing and generous place with all that rock, water, sky and the weather. It’s food. Not so far distant from oatmeal really. Because, as Ali Akbar Khan said about music, without this I die. AND, it being spring, between a long winter and summer and a lot of soft earth … I’m like Meena the Cat, dreaming of that summer paradise.

“When spring comes, go to the flowers — why keep on sucking wax?” Antonio Machado

Meena the Cat

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snow and the robins

Later there were a dozen or more robins in the backyard but first there was the morning snow. Thick, big, soft and furious between 7 and 9. Snow that covered everything for a short while, covered as well the ice and made it very very slippery in places. As for me, I took a couple spills on my run; down to the hard ground. Now, a bit beat up tonight but not defeated, just sore.

“Love one another or you perish . . . . We have reached a decisive point in human evolution, at which the only way forward is in the direction of a common passion, a ‘conspiration.’” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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Saturday at the Parsonage

Saturday is laundry day and the blue sky said; ‘hang the cloths outside’. Running this morning was sloppy wet with all the melting but I did manage 8 miles. Last night the temperature remained above freezing so spring is indeed on the way. Lent began this week and so, once again, I’ll do forty days of running. I’ve also been re-reading Buddhist texts and deepening my practice. My legs and heart can use the effort of the running and likewise a deepening of my practice(s). Otherwise … it’s a quiet day at the Parsonage.

“I and all beings are of the same essential value.” Zhuang Zhou

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winter blue sky sun & run

Winter blue sky sun and a run. Just 12˚F but the RH must have been near the same as all parts of my body turned a delicate white. I didn’t use the cleats as the roads were clear but there was a lot of ice to watch out for. When you sweat as I do, run as I do … you need to do the laundry. And I do like running in color. Meena the Cat was out in the winter sun to supervise and look-see-smell-watch.

"There are crimes that no one would commit as an individual which he willingly and bravely commits when acting in the name of his society, because he has been (too easily) convinced that evil is entirely different when it is done 'for the common good.'" Thomas Merton

RH and Air Temp

Meena the Cat

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