Friday, December 30, 2011

Blue and Red

The Pleasant Street Bridge
crayon, colored pencil
30 dec 2011
A political commentary? What the heck! In this picture: here, the natural rolling force of the blue river and vegetation is contained and framed by the rigid red. Red states and blue states caught in a balance of opposites. Each makes sense only when the other is present. At least in a political tale! Truth is, the blue was here long long ago before there were borders and boundaries and human thoughts of right and wrong, this and that, red and blue. Blue will remain when we are dust. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

This will probably be my last post for 2011.
Happy New Year to you. I hope you stay safe and that you get outside a little and try to appreciate the immensity of the natural world just outside your safe little doorstep!
Bonne annèe et bonne santè!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The End

A view of the island below the South Natick dam
colored pencil
26 dec. 2011

2011 is almost over. Kaput! Fini! The End! "That's all she wrote!"
One year ago the river looked like this (see right): Ice covered most of the channel upstream. And snow covered that ice. On Dec. 27th 2010 I agonized over the predicament of a swan mired in the slushy ice late in the day (If you follow that link, you'll learn that the swan was okay).

This year, there is no snow and only a little bit of ice in the quieter places near the riverbanks. Overall, the river has been high for months. It's not been dreadful but I think it drove the mallard and merganser families away. And I haven't seen the heron since late-September.

I love the sound of the water roaring over the dam but there is something soothing in the stillness of things being frozen and locked away until Spring comes knocking. Maybe this winter will continue to be a roller-coaster ride or maybe the days will just flow along despite any anxiety I might manufacture or feel.

So, what would you do while you wait for winter to settle? Why wait at all? Indeed, I think I will continue to simply attend to it all come what may.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Nest

a small bird's nest in a maple tree near Lake Waban
colored pencil
This is the time of year, where I live, that bird's nests become visible. The leaves are off the trees and each Autumn rain and clarifying Winter cold spell serve to make the branches more stark. Additions like nests become visible and can be seen high and low, casual and definite.
It is remarkable how sturdy they are. In this case, grasses and mud are the primary materials. It is snugged down into the fork of a small maple tree. The rains will slowly wash it away but fragments may remain on into next spring.

I think the hanging gauzy nests of the Northern Oriole are the most impressive. The nest is a kind of sac that hangs pendulum-like. It is merely "woven" from stems and blades of grass and is about eight inches long, maybe longer. The babies fledge in July I guess, and the nest is abandoned having served its purpose. But there it may swing and twist through the winter gales and ice storms of February. This is another promise of Orioles and Summer warmth to return.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Plumbago indica

Such colorful vines! I walked into the greenhouse and never made it out of the first room. This Plumbago indica plant caught my eye. My drawing is blue and red but really, this species is a deep pink and the leaves are green.
It's quite nasty if you eat it with your mouth so best to simply devour it with your eyes!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Reflections

vernal pool, Broadmoor Audubon Sanctuary, 12-04-11
colored pencil, crayon
Lake Waban from the boathouse
crayon. charcoal 12-05-11

still water above the dam, drizzle starting to fall
12-06-11 crayon

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why Make Pictures?

For what it's worth, I've been reading and greatly enjoying "Kenzan and His Tradition" by Bernard Leach. Published in 1966, this book describes the artistic traditions that informed the practice of Ogata Kenzan who developed a uniquely Japanese approach to ceramic decoration in the late 1600 - early 1700's. The influence and importance of Kenzan's "Tradition" is similar to the breakthroughs in European art by the better-known masters of the Italian renaissance. Leach's argument is that, while being in a completely different form of art, Kenzan's accomplishment of fusing an artistic response to cultural, social, political and religious realities was just as groundbreaking and that it continues to influence how we think and feel. His art changed the world. It accomplished this by the force of Kenzan's integrity and his focus on tradition and his unique sensitivity to the cultural winds that were stirring in his lifetime. In 2004, the Miho Museum near Kyoto held an exhibition of Kenzan's work, life and times.

And Leach's writing has a completeness and clarity that beautifully describes a very different historical culture. This alone is a good reason to read "Kenzan and His Tradition". It has slowed me down and allowed me to witness the lives of real people unfolding through time. The best parts are the connections he weaves between individuals with many different aims and agendas. Some are theoretical (because this is a work of scholarship) and others are well documented. But what does any of this have to do with my landscape drawings of 21st century suburban Boston?

I include my drawing of some small pine tree trunks with this description of Leach's book because it coincides with my reading and that, if you can be sympathetic enough, it shows the influence Japanese art, or Asian as I barely understand it, has had on my practice at the moment. While being a timeless type of nature study, for me this drawing is a poetic reflection on an exact moment of my existence. I stood in the cold with frozen fingers and produced a drawing of what I looked at. The trees captured a part of my imagination that is too tangled to describe. It was  a meditative moment with a specific task that needed to be accomplished. At different times, several people walked by, walking their dogs. We exchanged greetings. The dogs sniffed my offered hand. I drew until it became uncomfortable and went home.

Why do this? Why do this now? If you must know, it brings me peace and a momentary focus on something that is not imaginary. My thought process whirs along and I observe it while trying to create a reasonable facsimile of what I am looking at. This is what happens when one is making a picture. The drawing hardly matters. After a while it simply becomes a testimony to my having sat with something and regarded it closely and with affection. I think this is a good reason to make Art.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Petit Dejeuner

Two mallards having a small meal
21 Nov. 2011
china marker on paper
There were more ducks in this group. I only drew two of them as they dabbled in the shallow water. I was sitting at a viewing platform at Broadmoor Audubon Sanctuary and the wetland was full of activity. At one point, another male dropped out of the sky and joined the boisterous group. A pair of Canada geese kept their distance.

Friday, November 25, 2011


The Hunnewell Pinetum from Tupelo Point, Wellesley, MA
colored pencil
The South Natick Dam: Thanksgiving Day
colored pencil

Monday, November 21, 2011

In the Dark

I drew this quickly.
I needed to get outside after a day of being in a car all day and eating rich food (or so it seemed) so as soon as we got home I laced up my boots and grabbed my sketchbook and a black crayon and walked to the river. It was sunset and the light was changing every few seconds. There was also a breeze so the reflections on the water were constantly moving and shifting.

As it got darker and the drawing progressed, I kept shading the whole drawing with the broad side of the crayon. The details started to clog and a graininess emerged that suggested the very particles of air and matter that intercept the sun's photons. Matter becomes  film; these mute microscopic processors hold and then scatter their small allotment of visible solar energy. Their vibrations are the matrix that enfolds the more solid furniture of this real place.

If you like this sort of thing, I suggest you look at the drawings of the famous French pointillist painter George Seurat.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Plant Studies

I have an idea for a story that involves a soft person in a very prickly environment. I don't need much of an excuse to draw the cacti and succulents in the greenhouses…!

I love the names: Oaxacan Pony Tail  & Devil's Backbone (both in blue pencil). These were drawn last weekend.

Only a few minutes today to draw this Cattleya "gerardoensis" orchid. It wasn't blooming but its stems and leaves were interesting.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Un murmure assourdissant

Nov. 14, 2011
It's mid-November and today feels like September: the warm sun, still low on the horizon is sparkling off the water as it leaps off the dam. There's a breeze from the South which causes ripples to form perpendicular to the face of the dam. Like combed silk, or hair, the water glides over the curving lip in ribbons and advancing bands. I study the silvery folds and discover pieces of the sky and the forested horizon. And all the while, the crashing white-noise drone providing a sonic pillow for my undisciplined and unfinished thoughts. A deafening whisper.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Out of Control

The Pleasant Street Bridge and the island below the dam
Nov. 4, 2011
At some point, in days gone by, someone determined that an island below the dam was a good thing. I think this is true because at the upstream end of the island, just a few meters from the cascade, there are large granite boulders acting like the bow of a ship. These protect the vulnerable side of the island from being eroded by the powerful onrushing currents. And so, we have an island.

It is quite small. The only large animals I've seen there are fishermen and the occasional tribe of muddy-sneakered children who will be itching their poison ivy the day after their explorations. The Great Blue heron (who I haven't seen in weeks and don't expect back until 2012) hunts from the pool formed by the rocks. There are flocks of sparrows that infest the tangle of branches and families of ducks have rested in the lee of the island and dabbled in the July and August shallows that form in low-water. I did see a Black Crowned Night Heron once up in the trees there one summer.

Humans have this knowledge, or a set of assumptions that we are responsible for changing the environment. We are polluting the earth and have been for centuries. Now, more than ever before we live with the existential assumption that we are not quite in control of the arc of the Earth's environmental health. Every freak October blizzard or torrid April day is another argument that reinforces theories of climate change due to human activity. I accept these facts and the theories that proceed from them. Always have. Yet, another part of me, the messy cantankerous part that wants to fidget and daydream is drawn to thinking about the trash and the changes I see. I do pick up litter. But some I do not and here's why: that abandoned styrofoam cup is now the home of a slug or a family of millipedes perhaps. The cranky part of me steadfastly asserts that among many things I am not in control of are the emotions and motivations of other life forms. I may feel guilty and angry about that litter but the slug and the millipedes see it is an acceptable place to fulfill part of their genetic imperative to survive.

Some people made an island and my imagination finds rest and inspiration there. From the island, a heron once surveyed the scene and calculated it's next expenditure of precious energy. A riot of sparrow-friendly weedy non-native plants grows there. Humans will need to make many more islands in order to prolong our time of assumed dominion of the Earth. There's something present between the assumption of our power to affect things and our unsettling knowledge that we are placed within something much bigger that we can't ever fully see.

Are we ever outside of Nature: No.
Are we deluded? I think we are… by biological and ecological reality. Is this an argument in favor of a deity? Oh! No! I won't go there!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Give a little, Take a little

January 20, 2011: snow and a weedy elm tree growing out of the masonry above the dam.

October 4, 2011: ten months later, a view of the cracks in the sidewalk and weeds.

October 24, 2011: the swiftly flowing river and no elm tree, just stumps. Will it sprout in the Spring?

I informally chart the depth of the economic recession by the state of repair of the public parks. The nearest park to me is this one by the South Natick Dam where I spend some time. Natick is a nicely varied town. It has it's districts of annoyingly plump affluence and it's worn-at-the-heels sections too. I see houses here and there, strangely vacant. Or some slowly decomposing home with an unattended "For Sale" sign on a post out front. A single light burns in the den at night indicating that a death watch is in progress. But the parks: have the trees been pruned? Did the volunteers in the garden club come by to freshen up the flower beds? After the hurricane, were a few new saplings planted?

There's an arbitrary quality to the upkeep nowadays. The crews get to it when they get to it. We tighten the belt one little notch. But then there can be a dramatic change where previously there was only gradual march of Nature taking back what was its all along. In this case, some ratty elm that had sprouted and thrived for a while from the  stone wall about the dam. From a certain angle it created a screen that instantly complicated my view of the solid and precise four-arched bridge downriver.

Between the tree and the warped metal railing, was a small jungle of weeds and poison ivy. This was all here before economic disaster of 2008. The park was like an old sweater with its moth holes and weeds in the pavement. It was comfortable and "real". However, that changed last week when I spotted yellow « CAUTION » tape all around the railing. Had someone had an accident? Was the poison ivy getting out of control? Were they going to replace the old railing? No, none of these.

The sprouted elm (which was mostly dead) was to be removed –which is apparent in the bottom drawing once you figure out what you're looking at. I'm not lamenting the loss of the tree really. It was surely damaging the stonework. I do miss the branches and the challenge of drawing them. One time, drawing them actually helped me see past some personal problems I was having (last January; the blue drawing on top). So, I guess I will miss that. That little reminder of a place where I left a small emotional piece of myself and took something from the park.

There's some economy at work here: It's the small personal investments of presence which, one hopes, are as meaningful as planting a tree or pulling the weeds.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Blue Coyote

I walked out into a steady mist two days ago and stopped at the field at the top of my street. The green grass was more vibrant because of the rain: it was yellow-green and there were scratchy areas of autumnal-sepia herbs and dried seed heads scattered on the tops of the swells. It was about 7:30 a.m.

I spotted a young coyote a few hundred yards away. It blended into the vegetation but once identified, it was plain to see and observe. Of course, it immediately sensed me and kept its distance. It then loped this way and that trying to determine if I was a credible threat. I had taken my sketchbook out and was jotting down the basic geometry. The charcoal and the blue pencil running in the mist and drizzle.

He trotted farther and farther away, sniffing, reconnoitering all the while. Never fleeing, the coyote made his escape firmly in control of his own reality. I stayed on longer trying to capture the moment and then turned to follow the path into the forest.

"The Blue Coyote"
charcoal, colored pencil, crayon, coffee
Could this be the coyote that absconded with my one year old cat this past summer? That's another story!

I tried to sketch the trees in the forest. Well, I didn't try. I actually did draw what I saw in the forest. Everything was so beautiful. The water droplets on my paper resisted the waxy black crayon and made it seem like I was drawing a snowstorm. Later, I added notes of different things I was thinking about. And what was that? Kitty Crother's wonderful illustrations for "Le petit-home et Dieu" that was published in 2010 by Pastel, a French publisher. Besides being a master story teller, she draws great forests too. So I was thinking about that.

the solo swan, a teen ager perhaps?
I've had the pleasure of observing a family of swans this summer on Lake Waban (accessible by this forest path and part of the Wellesley College campus). There are two adults and four dirty gray offspring. They mostly mind their own business and stay close together along the North edge of the lake. But on the way back home, I spotted this lone soul, an immature swan, looping around at the other end of the lake busily scrounging for the things that swans like to eat. Why was it all alone while the others were together?

Maybe there's a story in that?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thinking about Ducks

A few mallards at Broadmoor Audubon Sanctuary
brown pencil
© 2011 Rob Dunlavey

At last! Ducks!! They've been scared away from the South Natick Dam and all its rushing and unpredictable water. At Broadmoor, a wildlife sanctuary a few miles from my house, the water level in the marsh is at seasonal (lower) level and the wetlands are populated with dabbling mallards and crazy, easily-frightened Wood Ducks. Wood Ducks are really beautiful birds. If they weren't so skittish, I'd be able to show you a drawing. I did hear them a lot this morning at the far end of the marsh making their plaintive "Let's get outta here!" cries.

In order to get a good look at Wood Ducks, I think you just have to sit still and be very patient. Then they probably will put on quite a show. Early in the Spring. I was down at one of the vernal pools drawing maple blossoms and trying to keep warm when, lo and behold, a pair of Wood Ducks started going for a little walk: up in the trees (that's one reason they're called Wood Ducks). They nest in trees and this pair was, perhaps, looking for a good spot to get started making more Wood Ducks (for my benefit no doubt).

Now here's the honest-to-God truth: Two years ago, I was present at the moment when a brood of Wood Duck ducklings left their nest (in a tree cavity twenty feet above the ground and a 30-40 foot waddle to the river). One by one they flapped/plopped to the soft leaf litter below, collected their wits and were quickly hustled over to the bank. Mom and gravity did the rest of the work getting them out onto the relative safety of the water and on with life. I saw it with my own four eyes. I did!

Friday, October 7, 2011


graphite drawing with digital color

pencil sketch with Photoshop additions
© 2011 Rob Dunlavey

It's interesting to watch the seasons through the eyes of the blogging world. All over facebook and flickr my friends and acquaintances have posted many pictures of mushrooms. A few have posted photos of bleak autumn landscapes and some are still lingering on balmy beaches. Me, I'm trying to get the house ship-shape for winter… …like I do every year. It's that dance between preparation and simple enjoyment of the many fleeting moments.
Oh, there's another sunbeam! Gotta go!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


You can just make out the arches of the Pleasant Street Bridge beyond the metal pipe fence. Normally, I'm focused on what is beyond the fence: the rushing water and the marvelous white noise of the cascade. I hunt there for wildlife and the tricks of light. But this day I study the obstacles and those immediate things that eclipse my dreaming.
It's also, perhaps, a portrait of a society going through a downturn. Someone should pull those weeds and paint the fence and fix the crumbling stone walls. Or should they? I'll draw it either way. And the old ways will prevail in the end.

Sonnet 2 by Shakespeare

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,
Thy youth's proud livery so gazed on now,
Will be a totter'd weed of small worth held: 
Then being asked, where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days; 
To say, within thine own deep sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserv'd thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer 'This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,'
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Geese! People!

Continued high water on the river has kept all but the heron and this small flock of vegetarian geese away from the cascading river. Below is a quick charcoal sketch of four Canada Geese mowing the lawn in the park. They used to dine regularly on bread and Cheerios™ provided by local youngsters until the biologists discouraged the practice. And you can see why: the geese stop migrating for food and lounge around like panhandlers all year long. Goose droppings are everywhere (be careful where you sit Rob!). The geese are graceful but you know as well as I that geese are not very friendly birds. And swans are worse (but that's another story).
I do enjoy observing the group dynamics though: one bird appears to be the lookout while the others determinedly rip at the grass. If something is amiss, they huddle and get skittish.

geese at the South Natick Dam
Sept. 29, 2011, charcoal
© 2011 Rob Dunlavey

"…it was  a misty, moisty morning…"

You might be able to see a fisherman way down by the bridge in this photo. Another fisherman with gelled hair wearing a black leather vest and tight jeans joined him but instead of a rod and reel, he used  an "old-fangled" Pocket Fisherman™. I remember the incessant ads for these when I was younger. Soon, the pocket fisherman was just a ball of tangled fishing line and the hipster left to get some more string.

On the opposite shore was a group of twenty recruits from the Massachusetts Fire Academy practicing water rescues.  They were clad in hi-tech helmets and wet suits. One by one, like ducklings, the stepped off a ladder into the fast-flowing river and bobbed downstream for a few seconds before they were "rescued" by one of the more senior "mother ducks". Then they'd clamor out, splashing in the shallow water and do it again. Too bad it wasn't a nice summer day!

I was intrigued by the heavy walnuts hanging from the Black Walnut tree. Every once in a while one lets go and makes a loud splash and is  on its way to Boston Harbor.
Regarding the Massachusetts Fire Academy and its rescue drills: I'm proud of these men and women and despite all the craziness in politics and the economic stress in the world it's good to know that some folks have their priorities sorted out. Whatever the cost, this type of training and readiness adds a kind of stability to Life that is hard to quantify when all we seem to care about and consume is News. I guess they're a bit like that goose keeping an eye out for trouble.
One man's opinion folks —from Massachusetts no less! :-\

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recent Drawings

The Pleasant Street Bridge
sketchbook spread in brown pencil
26 Sept. 2011
The view above was drawn at a time of day when I'm usually home making dinner. Instead of coffee, I had a bottle of beer while I feverishly scribbled. By the end of the session I could hardly see my paper and the streetlights had come on. Deadlines are very useful. Do they help you?
A view of the dam through a fence
colored pencil
25 Sept. 2011
Water milfoil harvesting machine, Lake Waban
colored pencil
22 Sept. 2011
This machine is driven around the shallow places at Lake Waban where the water milfoil, an invasive weed is abundant. It's a scourge everywhere in New England and many ponds and lakes are defenseless against this slimy uninvited party guest. Wellesley College, which has deep pockets and an awareness of the milfoil's threat has invested in this harvester. It's interesting to watch it cruise back and forth in the morning fog like some gentle dinosaur scooping up the weeds.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Sparrow

sketchbook spread: a drawing of a dead bird.
Sept. 23, 2011 colored pencil
© 2011 Rob Dunlavey

On my walk home from the river yesterday, I found a dead sparrow on the side of the road. It had probably flown into the windshield of a passing car. Poor thing.

The sketchbook page had a few quick drawings of a heron I had drawn earlier. I'm working on a children's book that features a sparrow as one of the characters. You can find a few sketches of this character on my other illustration blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Birthday Flower

a water lily for SO, Elm Bank
September 15, 2011
Other drawings done on Sept. 15ths past:

a view from above the South Natick dam, 2010

pretty leaves 2009

Birthday card front 2008

Birthday card inside spread


Friday, September 9, 2011

La Demi-Saison

Willow Tree and birds
colored pencil
© 2011 Rob Dunlavey
Here we are: It's September. La rentrée. Hurricane Season. Not quite summer but not yet Autumn. Still Baseball Season but not October and the post-season. Anything can happen; I'm a Red Sox fan, believe me, I know!

Days of rain and general busyness kept me from the river for a few days and I was feeling anxious and wondered if I was losing my enthusiasm for drawing at the dam. Perhaps I too was in my own demi-saison. A petit "writer's block" even perhaps?

This line of thought could go in many potent or pessimistic directions; all without clear conclusions. Instead, I'll tell you about this willow tree: it's in decline. I was down here a few weeks ago and heard a loud "crack!" as a branch as large as the one pictured here let go and fell only to get snagged in the tree. Last winter, another larger limb broke. The tree sheds twigs all the time. So, this willow is in decline. It's in that demi-saison filled with letting go and sacrifice. Yielding to termites, ants and gravity. But the birds love it. A few missing branches make for better flight approaches and exits. It's the local hangout. I even saw a gray squirrel investigating the hole where that branch broke off. There could be something tasty in there or maybe it will make a snug winter home.

Life burrows into the corners of these in-between seasons of life. It's all preparation and letting go. Anticipation and acceptance. As the weather clarifies its intentions, there will be more room on the coat racks. For now I'll try to enjoy the variety. Salut!

en fançais (par Google)
Ici, nous sommes: C'est Septembre. La rentrée. Saison des ouragans. Pas tout à fait l'étémais pas encore l'automne. Saison de baseball, mais pas encore Octobre et la post-saison. Tout peut arriver, je suis un fan des Red Sox, croyez-moi, je sais!

Jours de pluie et busyness générale m'a empêché de la rivière pendant quelques jours et je me sentais anxieuse et je me demandais si je devais perdre mon enthousiasme pour le dessin à la digue. Peut-être moi aussi j'ai été dans ma propre demi-saison. Un petit "bloc de l'écrivain», même peut-être?

Cette ligne de pensée pourrait aller dans plusieurs directions puissants ou pessimiste, le tout sans tirer des conclusions claires. Au lieu de cela, je vais vous parler de ce saule: il est en déclin. J'ai été ici-bas il ya quelques semaines et entendu un fort «crack!" comme une branche aussi importante que celui représenté ici lâcher prise et est tombé seulement pour obtenir accroché dans l'arbre. L'hiver dernier, une autre grande jambe cassé. L'arbre perd brindilles tout le temps. Donc, ce saule est en déclin. C'est dans cette demi-saisonremplie de lâcher prise et de sacrifice. Cédant aux termites, les fourmis et la gravité. Mais les oiseaux adorent. Un peu de branches manquants font pour des approches de vol de mieux et de sorties. C'est le repaire locale. J'ai même vu un écureuil gris enquête du trou où cette branche s'est cassée. Il pourrait y avoir quelque chose de savoureux là ou peut-être cela fera une maison d'hiver douillet.

Vie des terriers dans les coins de ces entre-deux saisons de la vie. C'est toute la préparation et de laisser-aller. Anticipation et l'acceptation. Comme le temps clarifie ses intentions, il n'y aura plus de place sur le porte-manteaux. Pour l'instant je vais essayer deprofiter de la variété. Salut!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Up & Down

Looking upstream

The view downstream
These two drawings were made a few days apart from about the same location on the stone retaining wall. I probably used the same pencil even. I think they are both post-Hurricane Irene; there's a lot of water being carried by the river.

Is my life this way? There are times when it's carrying a lot of emotion and tumult, the entertaining of other people's demands.  And then there are other moments (only moments!) where I seem suddenly afloat in a shallow river, caught with my centerboard half-up or down. It seems so.

When the water level goes down will the ducks return for more lazy afternoons of dabbling? But already I see flocks of ducks in unpredictable and larger increments passing overhead. They are busy too vibrating with the imperative call to… what? Move. Move!

All this, as if, time didn't exist (which makes me remember a New Yorker article I just read about the philosopher Derek Parfit). It's all about the big issues of Life… and they didn't seem so big after all.
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