A Little More Serious

Tangled, Tethered, and Tied

Kite Strings

The other day, these words popped into my head while I was untangling garden twine. I grabbed a pen and the nearest seed packet to scratch out the words in case I forgot them.

*I want my kite strings tangled in your tree.

I’d read this phrase somewhere and the words wove their way into my brain and lived there until I found something to do with them. Strings? Threads? Yarn? What could it mean?

Tangled, Tethered, and Forever Tied
Tangled

Grandma taught me to crochet when I was about seven years old. My job was to unravel the skein of yarn and roll it into a ball while she followed the pattern, performed magic with the thread, and created works of art. I watched her swift movements with the needles and envied her experienced hands. Over and under and through and around. Intricate webs of looped connections that produced yards of  exquisite lace.

When she was tired of crocheting, she’d move to a more tedious craft called tatting. She maneuvered thin thread over and under and through and around that resulted in tight knots, repeating patterns, and minuscule details. With crochet, it was easy to undo mistakes in the previous stitches – unravel and try again. With tatting, the knot was there for good, and the only way to fix a wrong turn was to cut out an entire section with a murderous pair of scissors.

It’s no surprise that I preferred crochet. I’d rather find a way to unravel than cut anything permanently. My childhood friends employed my fingers to untangle knotted necklace chains, and my mom always gave me the twisted and bundled Christmas tree lights. I undid ratted braids, retrieved fishing lines in trees, and rescued kite strings from extinction.

Tangled, Tethered, and Forever Tied
Tethered

Never cut what you can untie

~~Robert Frost

Many of us have ties that should be cut. Old habits, toxic thoughts, and individuals who represent the tangled threads of a lifetime. It’s the poets who point out the nuances of these complicated relationships and encourage us to explore.

An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.

~~Ancient Chinese Proverb

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This Chinese proverb has been called the red thread of fate and it’s used to explain the instant connection we experience with certain people. You may have felt the tug when you meet somebody for the first time, and it’s like you’ve known them forever. Maybe it’s a new co-worker, the person next to you on a flight, or your spouse back before they belonged to you.

The silk strands that link my heart to others resembles a red, tangled ball. I’m a hoarder of hearts, and I feather my nest with bits and pieces of twine from everyone I carry with me. Instead of cutting or breaking threads, I unravel or untangle – anything to keep the string tethered to my finger while giving it slack.

It’s my grandma’s hands that I see when I’m digging in the dirt and tending flowers. Her voice reminds me when to plant the seeds and when she thinks the last frost will happen. The calm of her presence guides my fingers to wrap the twine around the dowel, mark the spot, extend the line and hoe the next row.

My mom spent hours teaching me how to sew and it’s her voice I hear when I remember her instructions about how to gather pleats. Don’t pull too tightly. Keep the right tension. Don’t break the thread. I see red and gold silk strands when I think of my mom and imagine her needle sewing paisley swirls into an intricate tapestry – entwined with my brother’s and sister’s threads who complete the pattern.

Our intertwined lives create a design of vibrant colors, interesting textures, and unique qualities. Friends meet and interact and form their tribes. Families converge and meld and merge. My children meet people, and then I meet their people, and they become my people. We live, interact, and find new ways to connect. Lines cross, threads intersect, and lives change and tether to each other.

These people, you people, are on my mind all of the time. I must be the noisiest quiet person in the world because conversations run at a constant staccato in my head.

I wonder how she is doing. I really should say hello. I’ll drop her a note later.

I hope their family is doing well. Love the picture they had on Facebook a few weeks ago. I should text her.

How is my sister? I miss her babies. And my brothers. I miss their babies, too. I haven’t even met Chloe yet.

How is my Tanna? I haven’t talked to her since Tuesday. Does she know how much I love her?

My mind is messy, and my hands are busy. I’m sitting on a stone step somewhere with my big ball of twine. Winding and unwinding and tying and knotting and thinking of you. It’s all different colors and reflects the people I cherish. With each line I untangle, I send a silent prayer or phrase to the person it represents. I haven’t forgotten you, my friend. I carry you in my heart, and you are with me every day.  I’ll be back to visit soon, and we will pick right up where we left off.

The ties that bind us are sometimes impossible to explain. Some bonds defy distance, and time, and logic. These relationships withstand harsh words and complications and not even death can break them.

Some ties are simply meant to be.

 

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow-men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ― Herman Melville

 ~~~~

Do you know want to know where the kite strings quote originates? I Googled it and found it contained within the song Closer by Jars of Clay. What a happy discovery and another piece of twine to add to my nest.

 

84 thoughts on “Tangled, Tethered, and Tied

      1. “Therapeutic”
        Like laughter! Like when I laugh at your poetry – I read your little piece about ‘hair’ this morning in between appointments. It was exactly what I needed to curb the stress balls. Thank you!

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  1. I love this so much! So touching and beautiful. It made me think of so many of the special people in my life. And what gorgeous, sweet imagery of your mom and grandma and they things they taught you. *heavy sigh* love love love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Beth. Your words mean a lot to me. I’ve been sitting on this one for a while and then I read Ned’s piece this morning and hit “publish” without any more editing.
      I hope you’re doing well, my friend. I carry you with me, too! Xo

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  2. Michelle, I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you why this post resonated so deeply with me today, of all days. In my mind, it is yet another example of those invisible strings yo talk about which — through fate and God’s grace — bind us to certain people in our lives.

    I’m so very thankful you are among those I am inter-twined with.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Right where we left off…thinking of you my friend! Yes, I do think of you, often. And say, I need to send her an email, give her a ring, send a text – just check in. Wonder if she’ll be in KC soon? Tangled strings, but always able to unravel them to find our way to those we know 😉 xoxo

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  4. Hi Michelle, I love how you have really delved deep into this metaphor for the ways we are tethered and connected to others! It really has me thinking about my own relationship to strings. Warmly, Shelah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello and welcome 🙂
      I am so glad to know that you thought of your own attachments. It’s exactly what I wished for the reader. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment 🙂

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  5. OMG! Again Michelle… I feel like you have crawled into my head and my heart and wrote the beautiful words of my soul!!! I LOVE THIS so much!!! I feel exactly the same way about the people in my life. My brothers… my nieces and nephews and people becoming “my people”. I made another new friend yesterday and she is going to be a creative soul mate! because she is an artist and I started “art” lessons with her yesterday. I thought it was just going to be a “painting” lesson, but no! I might do photography with her and pastels or drawing or just throw paint on a canvas if I need to! She is so awesome! I feel so completely blessed to have such wonderful people in my life through my blog, my church, classes I take! WOW! Overwhelmed! *sigh* and crying a little! Thank you for your special words… they sew a new thread on my heart! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! I’m so glad this resonated with you C/K. It’s what I hoped for.
      As for the art classes – will we be seeing the fruits of your labor?!?
      Thank you for taking the time to stop and comment. I know you’re a busy lady! Xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a beautiful way to describe relationships and connections. I’m like you. I don’t like to cut ties but I try to hold on loosely when that’s what’s best. I’ve found that given enough time, most tangles will work themselves. You are one of those people I felt destined to know! And I totally felt connected to my husband before we even officially met. The universe is like a multicolored ball of yard. 😉 xxoo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Most tangles will work themselves out”
      *marks it down in my lesson book.
      Regarding our friendship, I remember Christy telling me about you – she said, “I know you’ll be great friends. You have a lot in common.”
      She was sooo right, and doing a bit of magic weaving, too.
      Happy Friday, Karen! I can’t wait to be home tonight and all tangled up in my family again. Xo

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I love this reminder of how we’re all tied together and connected in tangled knots, some beautiful, some messy…all that can come together and made an intricate masterpiece in the end. Tatting is so gorgeous. I bought so many books on how to do it and patterns; my aunt tried to teach me, but I could never figure it out; I love crochet though, although since I started writing, I’ve kind of tossed that to the side. People though, like you say, are the best type of handwork we can work to master–to love and cherish all the little knots in our life’s needlework.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “People though, like you say, are the best type of handwork we can work to master-to love and cherish all the little knots in our life’s needlework”
      Even your comments sound like poetry. Thank you for stopping in, Char. I love having you here. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautifully crafted Mama. The pictures are delightful and add so much the post. Thank you so much for this – it is the way i too see the world – I just could never write it so eloquently and elegantly. I can see your Grandma tatting as you wrote.

    You know when you spoke of string I was reminded of how thrifty your Grandma’s generation was – had to be – to survive. Lessons we would do well to learn. My good friend David is about our age and when his grandma passed on some years ago, she was living on her own still in the old family home. This was her wish and she had lots of help, both official in the form of visiting nurse and part-time housekeepers as well as family members. This woman had been born in her house, as had her mother -David’s great Grandmother. The family all had spouses and their own places and so it came to be that they had to clean out and sell the house. there were generations of treasures that had to be sorted and cataloged. David and his brother drew the garage to sort and clean. It was all neatly organized with labelled jars and tins of screws and fittings and hinges and all the other hardware that accumulates over generations. There was a series of used tobacco tins lined up in a row, all well labelled that were dedicated to string. They were in order marked: “Long Strings”, “Medium Strings”, “Short Strings” and finally “Strings Too Short To Save”.

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    1. Hi Paul,
      I absolutely LOVE your friend’s story about the labled jars of string. That grandma sounds like somebody I would have loved, too. I’m not what you would consider a collector and I try to keep anything extra to a minimum. That said, I DO keep string and yarn and thread. In pretty boxes, on shelves, and a very full sewing box. I never really knew why until I put it all together in this post. Your words provide further comfort that I’m not the only one. Thank you so much!
      Do you have a guest post this weekend? I may actually have some time to read.
      As always, I love seeing you here, Paul. Thank you!

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      1. Thanks Mama. Oddly nough, I have one guest post at Willowdot 21 publishing tonight – usually around 8 pm. And I have a three part series publishing Mon, Tue, Wed, as the first post on a new blog called Julie No Blog https://julienoblog.wordpress.com/ This blog started out as a sort of joke. There is another blogger named Julie out there who, like myself, does not have a blog. We were teasing her about it and so one of the other bloggers -List of X, I think – set up a blog and called it “JulieNoBlog”. Julie is shy and she does not think she has anything worth while to say, so she asked someone else to write a post for her new “NoBlog” Ha! I accepted the challenge. A third blogger, Gibber https://gibberjabberin.wordpress.com/2015/05/16/notice-julie-no-blogs-blog/comment-page-1/#comment-19238 is administering the blog as Julie does not know how. As i don’t. I wrote the post but it went real long, so Gibber broke it into three parts for publication. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😀

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    1. Hi Katie!
      Confession – whenever I see your pretty face, I want to holler “It’s Katie Bell!” I know, wierd 🙂
      I was completely hopeless for tatting, too. I don’t do much crochet these days, but when it’s cold out and my mind is racing, I like having the needle and thread handy. All I’m missing is bifocals 🙂

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    1. Hello love! I told you I was working on something 🙂
      I buried your poem in the middle because reading your words a few weeks ago helped me put some tweaks on my own. This has been sitting in the hopper ever since my rampant red Pinterest journey.
      I hope that you’ve had a great week, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You DID and I was very excited to approve your linkback and come on over and read 🙂 I like it a lot. Makes me want to definitely ensure I have read thread and gold powder when I come to the US, so I can be a dork (or maybe sweet, but probably a dork) and tie thread around the wrists of my friends, and anoint them with golden powder like at Holi, for the ones who are really special…

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      2. Now THAT would be perfect. I’m not going near Kansas, I don’t think. Closest thing to the middle of nowhere I’m getting to is Missouri… (if that counts). Maybe green shoes would BRING me to you…?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. OH! You….a for real thing? WOW! *grins* That’s amazing and you just totally made my first-thing-over-breakfasttime 🙂 I’ll message you on FB. I don’t have your email 🙂

        Joplin. Is Joplin close?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Archita,
      So awesome to see you here! Christy told me about you and your beautiful words and poetry and photos. I must get over to visit!
      Thank you for taking the time to stop, read and comment. I can’t wait to head over and see you at your space, too
      Have a great weekend!
      Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow. The ways you weave, crochet, knit your words and imagery together just blows me away. I love thinking about lives as threads in a big living tapestry. Beautifully written, my friend. The kite reminds me of when I was in sixth grade and we learned how to make kites. We had a kite flying competition and I won a prize for having the smallest kite that flew. The most important part of making a kite is getting the tail right. It’s the key to the balance so it can fly. If it’s not balanced, it can’t fly. (Have fun with that imagery!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susan,
      I so could have used you on this project. This piece has been on my brain for a quite a while and I wanted to find a vintage paper kite for the photos. I couldn’t find one anywhere…so, I threw the kite you see in the photos together on Sunday afternoon. NO WAY will it fly. It’s too heavy and flimsy. I would have loved to have seen your little kite. The best things are in small packages, right?
      Cool story! I’m so glad you shared.
      Have a fabulous weekend with your dude! xo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kristen!
      I remember when you first wrote about your grandma and how I’ve been trying to do the same ever since. I truly enjoyed catching a glimpse of her this morning – our grandmas would have been feisty friends 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The ties that bind us. My goodness, I’ve been obsessed with that puzzle for practically my whole life. Like Kristen, I also love untangling physical things. It feels so therapeutic, maybe because it is always easier to do than untangling emotional knots.

    My grandmother taught me to crochet, too. I loved it though I had little aptitude for it. She crocheted lovely pieces. I made misshapen doilies that she nevertheless put on all her end tables and plant stands.

    A beautiful piece that led me to think about a lot of things. Thinking is always good.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. oh my!
    Michelle…that was so beautiful, so very beautiful. Every word, all the photos. I’ll be thinking about this a long time, that red thread of fate. The intricacies of all our relationships, the fragility and the strength, too.
    I’m not much of a cutter myself…I prefer to unravel those heartstrings. However physical unravelling makes me crazy, hand me the scissors!
    The duality between the physical and the heart/soul spots, and what is “worth” unrevealing and what is better left balled in that tree…
    rambling here….greatly moved.
    Thank you for this.
    Thank you for sitting at your computer and writing, what a gift you have!
    xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a beautiful comment – you have a gift, too.
      “The duality between the physical and the heart/soul spots, and what is “worth” unrevelaing and what is better left balled in that tree…”
      Gorgeous, Michele and so true! I hope that you are doing well, my friend. When I write things like this, you are never far from my mind. xo

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  12. Wow can you write, Michelle! I’m so glad to see you and just realized that I didn’t have your blog in my Feedly reader. I do now and look forward to catching up here this weekend. Hope yours is lovely!

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    1. Oh, thank you Angie! Your kind words completely made my day. And, thank you for reminding me about the Feedly reader. I’ve been so bad about getting to my WP reader and I miss so much. I’m adding you, too and hope to get over to your place and get caught up.
      Have a fantastic weekend and thank you for stopping by to read and comment.
      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel the ssame way, Nicole. You were one of the first WP writers I met and have felt that red thread ever since. Thank you so much for your kind words, friendship, and support.
      I can’t wait to meet that little guy who’s going to spend the next decades weaving himself into your heart. Love you!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. There’s a Buddhist philosophy that in each lifetime, we often encounter the same people over and over again in differing roles, depending on the lessons we still need to learn. It would explain why we feel instantly connected to some people more than others when we meet.

    Love the red string and the ties that bind and Jars of Clay (though Dream Weaver would’ve been good too!) and all the lovely faces here that I knew instantly you would click with…

    Gives me the warm fuzzies.
    Love you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I absolutely love the Budhist perspective on the people we meet. As I look back, I can certainly see that it’s the case. In fact, as I look at the similarities between you, my husband, and my best friend…it makes me wonder what lesson I need to be taught.
      Maybe a good place to start would be not to risk my life climbing ladders and putting kites into trees 😉

      I’m glad this gave you the warm fuzzies. I wrote it last weekend and was so sick of it, that I put it away. It wasn’t until I read a post over at Ned’s site that what I needed to say finally struck a chord and resonated. I’m so glad it did the same for you.
      Have a wonderful weekend, my friend! We are off to play baseball. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Heartstrings are the ties that bind, my beautiful friend. I hope you know you tug at mine all the time. You write beautifully and this post especially brought me so much joy and just calmed my soul. Thank you for that tonight.

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  15. What a lovely mind you have, Michelle. Strings of people, places and things, the way they weave together in twists and turns and knotty tangles, that is what makes each life an individual array, clumps of colors and textures and patterns and randomness. You see it and tell it and cherish it. I’m so happy to be one string in your world, Michelle, and that you’ve tied your twine in mine.

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    1. Dear Mark,
      You are DEFINITELY a string in my world. You are always so good to stop, read, and comment. PLUS – you always seem to ‘get’ what I’m saying even if I don’t know myself. I hope that you and Karen have a fabulous holiday weekend. I’m so excited to have a Monday off…hoping to get my kite strings all tangled up in the bloggy trees. Thank you again and have a great rest of the week! xo

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      1. Yes, Memorial Day Weekend coming at least, my friend! Get your life untangled and your strings tangled good, Michelle. 🙂 I get it. ❤ MDW Karen has agreed to come ride along in the golf cart with me during my league for the holiday despite the fact that she does not play, because everybody else in the group is an old friend. That makes me quite pleased. Yay for all of us out there and here. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awesome for Karen! My best friend (who doesn’t play either) likes to come along and keep us all entertained. Remember…drive for show – putt for dough!!!

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      3. I finally started driving it down the middle Monday night, third time out this year. I’ve been putting well. But leaving everything a couple inches from the cup. I hate when that happens. I bet you can play some, Michelle.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Very beautifully written Michelle. Those multitudes of strands, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, are created by the unconditional love within us all.
    And the strands of your love are expressed in this story. Follow your heart my friend and those strands that are created will go on and on and on forever. And gladly followed for their light. Mark 🙂

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    1. Dear Mark,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. You have been one of the genuine threads in this intricate world. I don’t get to visit with you near as often as I’d like, but when I do, I always leave with a renewed spirit and awesome perspective. I count you among my many blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Michelle, your words are very kind.
        I think like you I have been a little busy with a few adventures in life, and we need those times to follow our hearts, but when we return much is then appreciated because of what we have been through.
        Your adventures and journey’s within are always gladly read as your heart comes across easily in your words…and they create an adventure of their own 😀 , I always look forward to each post because I know it will be a good read 🙂
        Love and light to you also my friend, may they guide you truly on your next adventure…within or without 🙂

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  17. “I’m a hoarder of hearts, and I feather my nest with bits and pieces of twine from everyone I carry with me. Instead of cutting or breaking threads, I unravel or untangle – anything to keep the string tethered to my finger while giving it slack.”

    I loooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeee this!! What a beautiful post, Michelle. There is so much here, beneath the words…in the meaning.

    I think when we finally meet it is going to be joy followed by calm as we sit upon nests of which the other is a part.

    Nests of Life they are.
    Nests. of. LIFE.

    With tethered heart,
    Dani

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dearest Dani,
      I read your sweet words a few days ago and have been savoring the kindness within them. Thank you so much!
      You’ve known my heart from the very beginning and I’m so proud to have your threads tangled up in mine.
      Love you, my friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. So glad to find your blog thanks to Courtney. I love your tie quotes. The first one – about the kite? One of the sexiest quotes I’ve ever read. The rest of them resonate with me, though, because we all are so intertwined (with invisible twine), red, blue, purple and white. Have I felt connected/bound with some whom I’d never met before? Oh yes – those are the deepest friendships I have.

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    1. Hi Pam,
      So awesome to meet you. Courtney is a gem and any friend of hers is a friend of mine 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words and insights. YES – I totally agree with the sexiness of the kite strings quote. It’s why I had to write it down on the fly (I was covered in garden mud in my greenhouse!)
      I’m eager to hop over to your site and get tangled up there as well…I think I saw pictures of day lilies!!!
      Thank you again and have a wonderful Friday!
      Michelle

      Liked by 1 person

  19. It never ceases to amaze me how people come into your life and they change it. They change it in ways that are imperceptible when they’re happening, and then one day you’re like, “What would I do without this person in my life?”
    What a great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Cayman. This took some “untangling” to even make sense of it in my head – way more difficult than any of those knots I’ve worked on!
      I hope you’re doing well, my friend. xoxoxo

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  20. Beautifully spun, Michelle. As I read this, I thought, “I’ll mention that red thread in my comment …” because it’s been recently revealed to me, and I cherish it. But I should have known you’d get to it on your own! I’m proud to have a tie to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And, I’m proud to be tied to you, too! Thank you for the kind words, Eli. I’m so tickled that the red thread entered your mind before it showed up on my page. It means that maybe, finally, I’m heading the right direction. Hope you’re doing well!! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Getting chills, Mickey. My fav post here. The quotes and reflections on discerning which threads to untie and which to cut are something to digest. The grandmother’s hands are beautiful, touching (pun intended). Thanks for the rich, moving post.

    Luv,
    D.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You popped into my head this morning…and here you are. Thank you, Diana. This post was calming to write and I’m so honored that it resonated with you, too. I wish I had a personal photograph of my grandmother’s hands – I watched and learned from them for so many years. I hope you and your boys (big and little) are doing well. Muah!

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      1. Aw, that wOulda been awesome to have a shot of her hands. The things we take for granted when they’re ours for the taking.

        Thanks: the boys are great. Momma D’s been beyond tired keeping the planets in orbit in our world.

        Xoxoxo,
        D.

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