WWB Wise Guru Q&A Series: Newly Released Book ‘The Nature Fix’ Presents Cutting Edge Science on How Nature Affects our Health & Well-Being from a World Wise Perspective…

Mar 15, 2017 by

NatureFix_2 with frame.jpgWWB Wise Guru: Florence Williams is an American journalist and nonfiction author whose work focuses on the environment, health and science. She is a contributing editor at Outside magazine and a freelance writer for National Geographic, the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Slate, Mother Jones, High Country News, O-Oprah, W., Bicycling and numerous other publications.

Her first book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in science and technology and the 2013 Audie in general nonfiction. The New York Times named it a notable book of 2012.

She was a Scripps Fellow at the Center of Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado. She is a fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature and a visiting scholar at George Washington University. She serves on the board of nonprofit environmental magazine, High Country News.

WWB Featured Book: ‘The Nature Fix, Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative’ explores the science behind our connection to nature and proposes that for optimal well-being, regular doses of nature are not only recommended but required.


Lauroly Opening- I am so honored and pleased Florence Williams could join me for a Q&A. Her book is a favorite of mine, and so glad she wrote it. Perhaps it’s a favorite because it speaks to me on a very personal level. Nature has always been my fix, without a doubt. Having said this, I never classified myself as ‘Nature Girl’. I didn’t camp as a kid and I didn’t hike until my 20’s. But being outside and playing in nature was always a big part of my life experience. I can thank my Dad for that. I have this in common with the author! I only saw him on weekends growing up, and every weekend, weather permitted, we were either horseback riding in the woods, walking in the woods, or rowing a boat on a lake next to the woods. Those early experiences and the need to be outdoors has never left me. I like the term Florence used in the book, “drinking the tonic of nature.”I wrote a piece for this very blog on Nature Therapy in 2015 and briefly discussed ‘Forest Bathing’ in Japan which she covers quite extensively in the book. Later in my life, traveling for business, I would always make a point to find a Public Garden no matter where I was, so I could reconnect with nature and myself. Reading ‘The Nature Fix’ confirmed what I have had always felt intuitively about nature…I’m a part of it and it’s a part of me.

Besides my personal connection to the topic of your book, I found it to be the perfect non-fiction book. It is well researched, highly informative and very entertaining as well. I love how she takes us through the research via her own personal travel. Her travel takes us to Japan, Korea, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Scotland, and we learn a lot about their cultures and wellness philosophies. Florence packed so much into this book, I found myself really challenged about where to start. I remind myself that I do these Q&A’s to recommend books and motivate people to go and read the books. I hope to touch on some of the many important findings in this book…







Lauroly Q- Welcome Florence Williams! So if everyone hasn’t heard yet, nature is good for civilization!  What you set out to do is to find the science to support why nature is so important to our humanity and our everyday well-being. To do that we need to understand our senses and how much of how we function is synced with nature.  It seems to me that when we are out in nature we are fully alive, because many of our senses are engaged in our experience. This explains to me personally why I am generally happier when I am outside. There is an enlightening chapter where you focus on a man in Sweden who experienced a personal tragedy and later came to understand how important nature therapy is to patients with depression. Yet like everything else with humans, the dose of nature varies from human to human.  What do we know so far about nature as therapy? Tell us more…




flopromoBarrOutdoorFlorence Williams: Yes, Lauroly, you are exactly right that it does seem to be the full-sensory experience that awakens our sense of well-being, and that there are many studies that support this idea. But the science is still young, and many of the studies are very small. It’s actually quite difficult for scientists to tease apart exactly which elements of nature are most helpful or which senses are most engaged. I was struck by the studies in Japan, led by Japanese anthropologist Yoshifumi Miyazaki, that measured physiological changes to the nervous system after just 20 minutes of being in the woods. These studies showed a 20-minute stroll on a forest trail can reduce your blood pressure an average 11 percent and lower your cortisol hormones (a measure of stress) by six percent. Perhaps because of the practice of forest bathing in Japan, people there are attuned to using all their senses in the woods – so they’re really paying attention to what they’re smelling and feeling and hearing and seeing. It seems that shortcut to mindfulness really helps us feel calmer and relaxed more quickly when we’re out in nature.

Lauroly Q– Glad you started with Japan. We can’t discuss your book without talking about ‘ Shinren Yoku (Forest Bathing)’. What is it about the Japanese culture, that has them embracing Forest Bathing so fervently that it has become part of their national healthcare policy? When you asked Miyazaki why nature is so important to their culture, he had this to say, “In our culture, nature is part of our minds and bodies and philosophy. In our tradition, all things are relative to something else.” Loved his answer. But it is amazing how the Japanese ended up being so far removed from the very thing that defined them isn’t it?

Florence Williams: Japan industrialized very quickly. The cities grew fast and there was intense economic competition for good jobs, good schooling and feeding the corporate culture. People are stressed out there, and they work and study incredibly long hours, effectively removing them from a lot of time in the countryside. But it would be mistake to say that modern life has disconnected them from nature. The Japanese still internalize a close connection to plants, for example, in their practices of bonsai and flower arranging, in their tiny gardens and through their lens of wabi sabi, which celebrates the seasons and simple nature. I think in many ways the Japanese definition of nature is more generous that the western one, which looks at spaces like parks and wilderness areas, rather than integrating elements of the natural world into everyday life and homes. That said, the Japanese do seem to relish getting outside when they can. As a result of Miyazaki’s data, the country has designated 48 “forest therapy” trails where overworked, urban citizens are now urged to go unwind, and it looks like more trails are being created.

Lauroly Q- One of the things I was wondering about while reading about your research in Finland, is related to Vitamin D (sun) and the deprivation they experience in winter. Have any researchers looked at how tree therapy might counteract the negative effects of not having enough sun? This is a good time to tell us about why Cypress Trees seem to have such a positive effect on our senses. As you put it, in the book “we enjoy a neural bath of happy hormones”! Below is a quick video you created to illustrate the beneficial effects of nature…


Florence Williams: Trees are certainly magical and wonderful, and hit a lot of our happy buttons, from providing rich visuals, especially fractal patterns (known to promote alpha brainwaves) to creating habitat for birds that in turn relax us with their birdsong. The smell piece is fascinating, as tree aerosols from cypress trees in Japan were found to lower blood pressure and increase Killer T immune cells in humans. That said, even in Finland and even in winter, being outside provides more brightness and full-spectrum light than being inside, and so the light aspect is still important. Full spectrum light is linked to wellbeing, and vitamin D is linked to all sorts of good things, from shaping our retinas to strengthening our bones. The lumens outside is generally 10 times greater than the lumens inside, except of course at night. Even the darkness, though, can help reset our circadian rhythms so we sleep better.

Lauroly Q- As a psychology major I found a lot of the research on education, and brain disorders like ADHD fascinating with respect to nature. Besides the specific special needs of children on the spectrum, your book explores the idea that children in general really need nature and play. I loved the section on Friedrich Frobel and his research. He focused on cultivating curiosity and freedom in childhood. Tell us how ‘kindergarten’ was originally conceptualized, and how nature was at the center of child education…

Florence Williams: Friedrich Froebel, who was born in Germany in 1782, was an educator heavily influenced by Rousseau, who said, “Everything is good as it comes from the hands of the Author of Nature.” Rousseau and Froebel both made a case for allowing young children to explore and learn based on their own curiosity. Froebel believed that an education filled with nature and art could instill a lifelong readiness to learn and also develop empathy and a love for living things. He really invented kindergarten, and it was nature-based from the beginning. Unfortunately, many cultures now consider kindergarten the new first-grade, and are taking children inside to sit at desks and learn their academics. We are not devoting enough time to considering what has been lost in this new model.

Lauroly Closing: I hope we don’t lose that model. Cultures change, but we don’t have to lose the wisdom that has already been acquired, especially when it comes to child development. Thank you Florence for joining me at World Wise Beauty, to discuss your important and wonderful book. I am going to make it my personal duty to share this book with everyone! I know they will love it and your research will resonate for them. I believe we are realizing nature is not a luxury but an absolute essential to our personal wellness, our humanity and our culture. See you out there Florence!

Florence Williams Closing: Thanks so much for your interest, Lauroly. It was so much fun reporting and writing this book, and it’s certainly made me spend more time outside. I will hope it will influence others as well.


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WWB’s Weekly Wisdom Wrap: Beautiful New Animated Film ‘The Prophet’ Fuses, Poetry, Art, Music, & Wisdom Together for ‘Deep Thinkers’ of All Ages

Aug 7, 2015 by



I am really proud that there are so many World Wise Beauties of all ages following World Wise Beauty. With this said, there are some readers that will immediately remember the poetry book ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran, and others who may be just  introduced to it through the new movie ( inspired by the book). The movie is produced by a real World Wise Beauty, Salma Hayek. The book has been translated into well over 40 languages. It has sold more than nine million copies in its American edition alone since its original publication in 1923.  If you have not read it. maybe you might consider it now, before you see the film!

I am not a film critic and certainly not here to review it. You can easily google the reviews and find a mixed review from critics who either love it or hate it. I can tell you however, that I loved the book and still refer to my copy I have for over twenty years! I am planning on seeing the film and I’m very inspired by Salma Hayek’s creative vision to produce  it. I selected the following movie review for you from ‘Variety’ because it gives you a quick sense of what to expect.

” Awe Inspiring, took my soul on a journey! As if it weren’t special enough to hear Neeson recite Gibran’s sentiments amidst such striking visuals, the addition of music further elevates verses that so many have already committed to memory and which a whole new audience can now discover for the first time.” ~Variety Review

Books turned into movies often hold a risk of losing the true character of the book. But this book is totally different and is really a collection of poems. How does one turn poems into a story and movie? Salma Hayek had a creative vision and it began by tapping into the ‘universal’ appeal of the book.


Photo Credit: Fropki.com

Salma shared in a Charlie Rose interview last night that she was amazed how one Lebanese ( Arabic) poet could appeal to so many people around the world from so many different religions. This is a ‘passion project’ for Salma and one of the main reasons I wanted to share this movie with you, is because she is so passionate about sharing wisdom to a fresh new audience. Below is the official trailer for the movie. You may recognize Liam Neeson’s voice and Salma herself does voice over for the main character in the film.



For those just learning about the book. Here is a quick overview from Amazon.

The Prophet” is a collection of poetic essays that are philosophical, spiritual, and, above all, inspirational. Gibran’s musings are divided into twenty-eight chapters covering such sprawling topics as love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, housing, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.

Just to give you a taste of Gibran’s wisdom, below are a few wise quotes from the book to give you a sense of how profound the poems are. The beauty of the book is, you don’t need a PhD in philosophy to understand his words. As Salma puts it “it’s not your brain recognizing it, it’s like your soul is recognizing it, and telling you that this is the truth.” I believe wisdom throughout the ages is exactly like that. It just resonates with us and it feels like a ‘knowing’ within us.


“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
― Kahlil GibranThe Prophet

“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

At World Wise Beauty we celebrate ‘Passioneers’ and Salma certainly is one, both as an artist and humanitarian. Most importantly WWB is committed to advancing the wisdom of ‘wellness culture’ and there is no doubt that Salma via this creative movie, wanted to encourage the many ‘deep thinkers’ in the world, to keep seeking and sharing enlightening wisdom. Below is an excerpt from an interview she did with Time and she discusses her motivation to produce the film…

TIME EXCERPT:Why did you want to adapt it into a film? I think the reason why people come into the film is because it talks about the simple things in life that bring us all together. I thought there was a great opportunity to make a film about connection. People today, when they think about connection, they think of the Internet. For my work that I do as a humanitarian, I worry about how people are becoming detached from their humanity, and how life in some places and in some ways has lost a lot of value. I think that when people read this book, they recognize in some phrases—they feel like they’ve read it before, or there’s something familiar to it. It’s not because you read it before—it’s not your brain recognizing it, it’s like your soul is recognizing it, and telling you that this is the truth. Through art was the easiest way to get to that place. That’s why the film is a combination of music, many types of visual art, the beauty of the storytelling of cinema, and—of course—poetry. ~Salma Hayek

Bravo to Salma Hayek for taking a creative risk and following her passion for ‘enlightenment and wisdom’. I personally can’t wait to see the movie. Anything that involves wisdom, music and beautiful art is an attraction for me. What really pulls me into creative projects is the ‘mission’. The mission of this film is so beautiful. Ultimately it tells us that no matter where we are from, and what religion we practice, there are universal truths we can all ‘hear’. Amidst all the senseless and violent films out there, this is a film with a positive message that is so needed, and especially for the young citizens of the world. Have a great weekend and hope you see the film!





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WWB Introduces a ‘Positively’ Beautiful ‘Ideal Find’ and Our Next 2014 WWB Icon…

Jul 30, 2014 by


Ideal Find: The Positively Present Guide to Life, Every Day Matters Diary & Pocket Diary, & Positively Present Digital


Founder: Dani DiPirro, Author, Blogger & Illustrator


Authentic Dedication: Committed to helping others embrace the idea of “living happily ever after NOW, and living positively in the present moment.







Lauroly Welcome- Welcome to World Wise Beauty Dani! You are now an official WWB Icon and I am so proud to make you one! You’re in very good select company! Our Icons celebrate inner beauty, seek wisdom and are truly dedicated to educating and enlightening other women. I am honored to have you join us. Wisdom comes from life experience and our willingness to learn from both and good experiences. And it also takes some excavating as I like to call it–a willingness to look deep within ourselves. Once we take that personal journey we can be ‘Comfortable In Our Own Skin’ and spend more time in the ‘present’. How is that for a perfect segue!


Lauroly Q- Before we get to your beautiful book and diaries, I would love if you would share a little bit about your own personal journey and how you became ‘comfortable in your own skin’. Tell us in your own words with the space limitations of a blog, how you found your way out of a dark place in your life?


Dani DiPirro: Before I share a bit about myself, I have to say thank you so much for including me in the selective world of WWB Icons. What an honor!

Getting to where I am now—living a positive and present life—has been quite a journey. In 2009, I hit a low point in my life and I knew I had to make some changes. It felt like everything—my career, my friendships, my love life, etc.—was going wrong. I’d tried everything I could to make myself happier, and nothing seemed to be working. One day it suddenly hit me: nothing outside of me could change me. I had to change myself—and that would have to start with changing my attitude toward life. At that point, I started spending a great deal of time thinking about what I really, truly wanted in my life, and I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be positive and I wanted to be present (two things I’d never really been before). It was then that the concept of Positively Present was born.

I started documenting my journey online at PositivelyPresent.com. As the site grew and I received so many positive responses, I became even more passionate about what I was doing on the site. I’d always wanted to be a writer, but I would never have imagined I’d be writing about positivity. (As a kid, my nickname was Eeyore due to the fact that I tended to see the world from beneath the negative haze of a rain cloud.) As the years past, I realized I wanted Positively Present to be more than just a hobby. I wanted to make it a career.

In early 2012, I left my full-time job doing marketing for a financial services company to pursue Positively Present full time. And in October 2012, I published my first book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present. (You can check out the book—and watch the video trailer!—on StayPositive365.com.) Since then, I’ve written multiple e-books, signed a book deal, and even started doing some graphic design work (something I’d never even considered doing until I opened up my mind and life with more positivity).


Diary & Organizer Calendar

Lauroly Q- What a beautiful inspiration you are Dani. I think it’s wonderful how you have taken your artistic talent and combined it with a communication platform that helps others to live positively. What sets all your creative projects apart is you go beyond ‘positive sentiment’.  You help us see that it’s more than just a positive mindset but also how we use our positive energy to seize each day. Your lovely ‘Every Day Matters’ Diaries are beautifully designed and highly organized. What I really love is they offer inspirational tips and exercises throughout the calendar year to help us tackle each day with small positive actions.

 This leads me to your upcoming book to be released in December. Tell us what we will find in your new book “The Positively Present Guide to Life–How to Make the Most of Every Moment’.  I can’t wait to read it and I will be sure to feature it in my ‘Ideal Finds’ Holiday Gift Guide.

Dani DiPirro: Thank you for your kind words about my website and the Every Day Matters diaries. I’m looking forward to keeping inspired and organized in the New Year with them. As for my new book (available late December 2014), I’m thrilled to share some information with you about it. The Positively Present Guide to Life is a handbook for those looking for action-oriented, inspiring advice to help them live more positive and present lives. On the surface, it’s practical wisdom for making the most of every moment. But on a deeper level it’s about how choosing to live a positively present life is a skill that can be learned and, once put into practice, can transform every aspect of one’s life—including home, work, relationships, romance, and change.

Pocket Diary & Calendar

By the end of the book, readers will have learned the six essential principles of living a positively present life and will know how to use those principles to create a nurturing home, build a fulfilling career, develop great relationships, appreciate true love, and embrace change. Best of all, readers have excellent opportunities to practice these principles via the exercises featured in each of the book’s 30 sections and be inspired by the many uplifting illustrations featured throughout the book.

Lauroly Q It sounds like the perfect guide! And I like the word ‘guide’ too because often positive sentiment falls flat if we don’t know how to translate them to our everyday living. Before you go Dani, I have one last question. I am starting a new ritual in the form of a very personal question for all my experts, authors and gurus who join me at WWB. What one profound quote inspires you personally in your life and why does it resonate with you so much? 

Dani DiPirro: As a writer, I adore words and quotes so it’s difficult for me to choose just one inspiring quote, but I’d have to say that one of my favorites right now comes from the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. In the book, she writes: “Trusting yourself means living out what you already know to be true.” Sometimes it can be difficult to dig deep into yourself and identify what’s true. For me, I think I always knew, deep down, that living a positive, present life would be the best way to be happy, fulfilled, and at peace, but for so long I was hesitant to believe that truth, favoring the quick fix of negativity instead. If I’d really listened—really trusted myself—I would have discovered that I could, in fact, live what I knew to be true. Living out your truth—whatever that truth might be—isn’t always easy, but it is the best way to trust, respect, and love yourself and your life.

Lauroly Closing: Thanks so much for visiting World Wise Beauty and hope to have you back soon Dani!  My readers can pre-order Dani’s book via Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com and will be in stores and online December 30, 2014.



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Ideal Find: ‘I AM A WOMAN’ –Not Just Another Pretty Face, Country Star Celebrates the Multifaceted Woman with Healing Music, Tributes, & Photography

Jul 2, 2014 by




Ideal Find: ‘I AM A WOMAN’ Book and CD Duo



Founder: Mary Sue Englund. ( co-writer of song Thom Shepherd)



Authentic Dedication: To celebrate courageous woman from all walks of life with healing music, words and photography.




Lauroly Opening- Welcome to World Wise Beauty Mary Sue! You are the first musician I have interviewed at WWB but I must say it is hard to put any label on you because you are really such a multi-faceted creative artist. The ‘I am A Woman’ project is a book and cd combo and what a beautiful artistic endeavor it is. You basically wrote and recorded a song and then brought the song’s lyrics to life with beautiful photographs of inspirational women in a book. For example one line from your song is ‘and I am a diary full of dreams’ and there is a lovely photograph of Anne Frank with a small dedication about her legacy. The selection of women is very eclectic. From Eleanor Roosevelt to Dolly Parton, you present the many faces of strong women. I love the creative selection and how perfectly each woman fits your song lyrics. While each selection is amazing I personally love the photograph of you and your Mom which accompanies the lyrics ‘but most times I am still that little girl’. Just so sweet…

You have been a harmony vocalist, pianist and violinist for Pam Tillis the celebrated country legend for 10 years and in your spare time have produced 5 self-penned albums of your own. We are already very impressed! But let’s begin with your wonderful ‘I am A Woman’ project. Can you share with us how you were inspired to bring it to life? Did it all start with writing the song? 

Mary Sue Englund: Lauroly, thank you for your kind words, and for taking an interest in I AM A WOMAN. It did start as song, and the title came from my co-writer, Thom Shepherd, who is pretty fantastic. He wrote country #1s, such as ‘REDNECK YACHT CLUB’ and ‘RIDING WITH PRIVATE MALONE.’ He wanted to write a song to celebrate women. So, we started compiling a list of qualities of the women in our lives who we love: our moms, sisters, and dear friends. During the time that we were writing the song, my mother in law was diagnosed with breast cancer. Hence, we wrote the line about the pink ribbon. It was an honor to write this song. After performing it a few times in concert, I realized what a profound affect it was having for our audiences. I wanted to make this song tangible, so I started the journey of creating the book. My mother is a book publisher, and I design all of her books (my other job!), so putting it together seemed like an obvious journey. Finding the women for the book was a privilege and a pleasure.


New CD, Mary Sue Englund

Lauroly Q- After the success of the ‘I Am A Woman’ book/cd project you were inspired to write a complete album of healing songs and will take this album on the road as a ‘healing concert series’. I can imagine how rewarding it must be to bring your beautiful music to cancer patients and caregivers. What I love about your new album “The Beat Goes On’ is the lyrics aren’t schmaltzy and nor are they dark. The sentiment of the album speaks to resilience and hope. All women can relate to managing the trials of life and tapping into the inner strength it takes to survive the hills and valleys. What kind of facilities do you tour and what has been your personal experience performing for this particular audience? 

Mary Sue Englund:  Thank you for listening to the album and I am so glad that you like it! I truly enjoy performing “healing concerts,” which is simply a concert of “healing songs” that I have written. I have gone through a lot of crazy challenges in my lifes’ journey, such as losing my sister to violence and watching my own mother fight cancer. Music is the thing that saves me, so I knew that it must be important to others as well. I play any kind of venue, from living room to a hospital waiting room to a community center or a theater. I go where folks need the music!


Mary Sue Englund/Healing Concert/Hospital


Lauroly Q- In your promotional material you are quoted saying “We go where the music is needed’. How do you envision the ‘healing concert series’ developing? You can take your concert to small intimate setting like a hospital waiting rooms or large music venues and theaters. How will you package your concert series moving forward? You have already performed at the Grand Ole Opry many times–how thrilling was that?!


Click For ‘I AM A WOMAN’ Music Video


Mary Sue Englund: Standing on the Grand Ole Opry stage is always a thrill. I have been honored to perform there regularly for the past 11 years. It is truly exciting every time! As far as my healing concerts developing? That is a question that I am leaving up to God. I take a little step every day and see where the journey takes me. I was asked recently to give a motivational talk to a group of attorneys for their retreat. That wasn’t what I expected to be asked to do, but it was quite a privilege. It will be wonderful to watch it all unfold. So, if you know a group who would like a healing concert, please send them my way!


Lauroly Closing: Attorneys are human too and I am sure they will love your work! Thank you so much for joining me at World Wise Beauty Mary Sue. I am honored to share your beautiful and sensitive work with my readers and happy to promote your project in any way I can. YOU are truly a ‘Ideal Find’ and I am sure everyone will agree with me once they see the book and hear your music. The “I Am A Woman” book/cd is a lovely gift for any woman who needs encouragement and inspiration. And that would be all of us! For more information on purchasing her book or booking a concert with Mary Sue, please visit her website to learn more. 

Truly Herself,

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