LLyn De Danaan
August 17, 2015
About 5600 Words
They are foxed and grimy, so much so that they stick to my hands. Their creases and bent corners make them nearly impossible to shuffle. I manage. With my eyes closed, I slip my
fingers into the middle of the pile, and pull the Knight of Cups. Nothing
surprising. The Knight slides out every morning except during the month
of August. A familiar visitor now, I’d miss him if someone else were to show
He is dressed in not so shiny armor, erect and peering at the golden goblet in
his hand. There is a hint of a smirk on his face. The horse is not sleek but
stout and thick legged like an Irish Cob or Gypsy Tracker. One leg is lifted as
if in mid-stride. Together, horse and rider present an elegant duo, capable and
handsome. Getting the same card everyday isn’t a magic trick. I know the feel
of this deck so well I can be fairly certain I’ll draw the reading I want.
Today, however, the card is reversed. An upside down Knight of Cups represents a person
who has trouble discerning truth from lies. I can’t think who’d be lying to me.
Dogs and cats and turtles don’t lie. I’m not gullible so even if someone tried
to keep something from me, I’d see through the smokescreen. I wouldn’t be
easily taken in.
Most days I draw the card right side up. It means change is coming. When isn’t
I’m always preparing. I exercise my body so I’ll be fit no matter what. I keep
myself organized so I’ll know where everything is when it’s needed.
I stay busy, but am never mindlessly occupied. I choose activities that enhance my independence and chances of survival and over time I have created an autopoietic system. I possess what’s
required to live comfortably and all the elements in my environment cooperate in
recreating themselves and maintaining a happy equilibrium.
Brightly colored images of flowers and trees and sinuous vines and fairy tale
villages adorn both the interior and exterior of my house. The eastern wall,
the most expansive unbroken surface in the house, depicts the village and surrounding landscape of Saint-Marc de Cournoyer in Quebec. Only I would know that. There are seldom visitors so the mural is there to please me.
The wizened, weather worn boards of the building soaked up paint so quickly I
had to apply several coats and sometimes altered the images as I worked. Thus
the walls are as pentimenti. Some clever psychiatrist could peel back the
layers and read my changing moods.
Even the spigots, useless to me after the well was exhausted, and the sinks and
work benches and chairs and tables are painted. My ceramic pots, made from the
argillaceous earth from exposed banks on the nearest purple grey massif, are
glazed to resemble the work of the potters in Faenza. Some of the clay veins I
dig are micaceous and the vessels I build and fire glitter in the sun without
further treatment. To enhance the sparkle, I coat them with bright white quartz gathered from arroyos that criss-cross the flatlands below the mountains. I grind the
quartz to a fine powder, apply that to the pots, then heat them in the
kiln until the pulverized crystal vitrifies. Many of my first pots were meant
to contain and store water, but now they are offered for sale or filled with
long stemmed dried weeds the color of scorched tree bark and set about the
house as decoration. My handmade mugs and dinner plates are painted with care and style so when I dine, I see something exquisite. I take care in preparing my food and it
is attractive in its own right, of course. But the thing upon which it is
placed and from which it is eaten is handsome as well.
What’s it like living here? It’s rather like passing the days on a carefully
contrived stage set for a play called something like, “Eccentric Desert
Rat: The Life of Bonny Bloom.” The production would star me, of course,
dressed in blue jeans, faded and ripped at the knee and butt, and sporting a
red-brown cracking face with hound dog jowls and topped off with a pile of frowzy
After tinkering with the deck and thinking a bit about my card, I swallow my
daily immunity boosting Lion’s Mane and Turkey Tail capsules (produced from my coddled
and productive mushroom farm fruiting out of sight in a darkened shed off
the back door) and then use an eye dropper to drizzle water into the tiny pots
of Eucalyptus standing at attention, a platoon of tin soldiers, on a
windowsill. The trees sprout from the seeds I extracted from of the blackened pods I harvested
and dried long ago. The pods hold their seeds deep in the cavities of their dark five pointed stars.
One day, I’ll walk out of my door and into a sweet smelling
forest full of birds and mosses and the long absent moldy odor of damp leaves
and rotting bark. I’ve already planted some seventy trees outside.
They are of different ages and heights and claim most of my mornings as I
deliver scant but sufficient water to each. It keeps them alive and growing
I am careful with water. As I said, the well gave out in a sudden sputter of
grit and mud that exploded from the kitchen tap. I knew this was coming. The
closest town added thirty or forty houses a decade ago and each of these sunk
wells into the aquifer. That and twelve years of almost no rain drained it dry.
I haul my water from this ragged settlement in five-gallon carboys once a month. A local co-op
tanks it from a distant reservoir and offers it for $10 a quart.
Water is my greatest expense. I can’t live without it so I scrape for money.
Town is fifteen miles to the east and I am perpetually concerned for the life
of my chattering, droopy and sun faded Ford Pinto, fearing it might not make
it there and back. The car’s original finish was a bright bronze. It’s a
pebbled grey and brown now. The tires are devoid of tread and the windshield is
so pitted that if I didn’t know my way blindfolded, I’d be soon lost. I’ve
thought about knocking the sand blasted glass out altogether. But the dust would come straight at me and I’d really end up sightless.
The dust storms have also scrubbed all the enameled letters and numbers from the front license
plate, though no law enforcement has been seen in this region for a decade so I
don’t care. The brakes, thankfully, are responsive, at least on the flatland,
and I budget for oil and grease and belts. Of course, I do all the maintenance
myself. Still, gas costs real money, when it is available, and water is
expensive so when I take the empty carboys for water, I bring a stack or box of
paintings and pots I can live without to sell on consignment at Polly’s store.
She sells groceries and camping gear and socks and ball caps and even toys. She
has one wall devoted to displaying the work of local artists. I count on tourists or wanderers passing through town, chancing on Polly’s and going down the row where the matches and
mops and candles are, seeing my work on the wall above the shelving, and liking
something well enough to want to take it home. Otherwise I can’t afford gas or
water or corn meal or flour or canned goods or anything else.
It’s all okay, as my friend Chandler used to say. I’m never short of what I
require and never go wanting. So much so that I often find I’ve put too much in
the cook pot or on my plate. No leftover is tossed. I keep a compost bin
a-brewing and use the soil I produce to dig in under the Eucalyptus trees and
mix into the soil in the roof garden raised beds. A fair amount of moisture
accumulates up there. The dew of the morning condenses on to sizeable sheets of
black plastic that line a dozen large, lipped pans. I bottle the dew-drop water
before the sun hits the roof. I have enough, over a few days, to water the
chard and spinach. The plants love the sun, though I protect them from the
intense noon heat with immense panels of scrap cardboard stapled onto a lathe
framework. The frames are hinged and can easily cover the two deep, about six
by ten feet boxes. These are planted with greens that I harvest and replant
throughout the year. I mulch them well with shredded newspaper and just about
anything else I can find so that their roots stay warm on freezing nights and
moisture is preserved.
I eat well. Wild foods complement my diet. Prickly pear is delicious. I gather
eggs from wild birds; I take only a few and never more than one from a nest.
I don’t keep animals for food but have two half-wild dun colored dogs named
Flee and Erica and a jumbo tiger striped mouser named Mr. Sandy Paws. They’ve
been with me as long as I’ve been here, them or predecessor four-leggeds, and
they are good companions. I don’t feel alone with them here because they are
exquisite listeners and don’t demand much from me. My favorite pal, though, is
my turtle Saint Jerome, named after the hermit mystic who lived in the
wilderness. There is a reproduction of da Vinci’s painting of the saint with
his companion lion on Jerome’s private box. Beautiful though it is, Jerome
eschews his lair during the day. He is a social beast. He goes to the box to
sleep or when the cat gets too playful. Jerome eats lettuce from my garden for
dinner. I tried kale and chard but he turned up his nose…well really his
whole face… at the slight bitterness of them. He actually spit the kale
across the room.
The work. The work! I had to attend to the work everyday. For so many years, my
work was my painting. That was all. That was enough. Sometimes I could find
discarded siding or rafters or paneling in dumpsters in town, all free for the
taking. I hauled my finds back with the carboys and made things of them. I
constructed fences and walkways. All painted. I built a little shower and a
latrine. I found scrap metal, old propane tanks, fenders, bumpers. I pounded
and welded them together, then painted them and made fabulous beings to guard
my house. And I made things to sell.
But then they came.
They swarmed like termites. Not angry, just born anew and looking for a
foothold. I was more isolated than I had been in some ways because I didn’t venture far
afield with them about. I missed my regular climbs for clay and rock herbs and
flowers. I missed my midnight strolls to watch the meteor showers or listen to
coyote pups. It was a hard time for me.
When it began, I was vexed and bothered by the passing parades of fanatics and
vulgar people, pathetic rabble with pet monkeys and filthy children all
shouting slogans, waving banners, and driving coughing, oil spewing trucks and
campers along the road in front of my house. True, there are not so many now as
there were during the height of the movement. In fact, there are only a few who
come by to lay flowers by one of the towers or take photographs. I don’t want
to see them or for them to see me and try to talk with me. But I can go out again. And my nights aren’t interrupted by noise from their encampment.
Movement people, at the beginning of their insanity, came as regularly as the tides. They seemed to float on a river of uninterrupted laughs and banter and often stopped to beg for
water or to use the outhouse. Or just to sit for a while. I must have been on
the maps they sent out to would-be pilgrims. I spent more time picking up gum wrappers and
cigarette butts than painting. And I was distracted by my own curiosity about them.
Before the people came the giants. Pylons. Towers. They popped up like skeletal
mutated cacti all around me. They were composed of steel latticework and
supported miles and miles of power lines that transmitted electricity. The
suspended cables were made of some kind of aluminium alloy. The shimmering
wires buzzed and crackled and birds, the innocents and the unknowing, flew into
and under and around them and died. I found crows with their beaks burned off
and pigeons missing wings. I noticed whole colonies of beetles and ants
carrying grain-sized eggs on the move in an effort to escape them. That must
have been fifteen years ago. The beetles and many other animals have been gone
for a long time.
The structures stood over the land, great pairs of boney long legged structures
as far as I could see. My site line was broken by hills and dips, but if I looked closely, I could see tips of them rising ever further. Some of the towers were at least 1000 feet tall,
defoliated crosses, axes of a doomed world, trees of no life. Their extended
arms were hung at each end with beaded porcelain or glass disks, dangling
whorish earrings, and through these passed the strands of wire that carried the
power. The discs reflected the rays of the sun and coruscated nearly blinding
flashes of light lashed across the desert.
My dogs and cat and even Jerome seemed to have trouble sleeping after the
The pylons were built to relay power generated from the turbines of a new dam
built on the other side of the mountain to the east. It was an untimely,
ill-managed project. It was to serve a million greedy households, the papers
said, to run their blenders and air conditioners and up to date dryers and hot
water heaters. Just three or four years after the transmission towers were
built, the talk was that the river was way below level from the drought and the
power wouldn’t last much longer. The lake that was formed behind the dam had
dropped to 42 percent of its capacity. Snow and rainfall had been abnormally
low for years.
For now, the pylons were above and beside my bungalow and me and there was
nothing left to do but paint them.
I started on a leg of the nearest one and worked my way up it with greens and
blues and every shade of red …up one leg…higher and higher…I strapped myself
on to the metal struts and carried paint in small buckets that hung from a belt
around my middle. I climbed every day and had finished four towers.
Then, one day, sometime before the Movement, maybe five years ago, a battery of
trucks and earthmoving equipment and cranes and tankers came out here and men
and women in snappy bright yellow uniforms and hard hats climbed down and began
to plunge a sharp auger deep into the earth. It hammered and drilled at the
same time so that the earth shook with each of the machine’s violent lunges.
The workers often withdrew and examined the bit on the tip of the thrusting
rod. I was told that the tip was made of diamonds. After a careful, close
inspection, the workers usually replaced the old tip with a sharper and
brighter thing and readied it to thrust again. They poured water from a large
tanker into the hole to cool the bit as it thrust and whirred and cut through
million year old rock. I wondered if it would ever stop. Through the days and
nights the machine thudded and thumped and made its way into my dreams, if I
ever actually slept.
Workers set up portable lamps so that the site was brilliantly lit even at
midnight and the few rabbits and deer and antelope still around stayed away,
frightened by the light and activity. No I could not avoid the sound or escape
the glare and neither could my dogs or cat. Or Jerome. I hung all my sheets on
my cabin windows and then finally the blankets but still it was as if the sun had
risen on us all night long. Finally, I nailed boards from my scrap pile across
all the windows.
After several weeks, I watched the workers inject something into the holes.
Deliveries of boulder sized dumpling-like shrink-wrapped packages stacked and secured
on flatbed trucks came racing to the site. I tried one night to get close
enough to see what it was. I couldn’t read the neatly printed Chinese
characters on the labels. The workers tore into the packages and dumped the
contents into the holes they’d dug. The earth trembled as the substance created
cracks and fissures deep in the ancient rock and exposed crude oil deposits,
the leavings of plants and animals and all the creatures and beings that once
walked the earth. Another army of quick moving laborers sucked it up with pumps
and pipes like arteries carried it far away, life support for dying cities,
transfusions for a hopeless world. The towers were left standing but they were
only carrying a small amount of the energy, the little the dam’s turbines could
The trucks were moving out one day as I was making my regular drive to town to
get water. I got the carboys filled and began a slow drive down the few blocks toward Polly’s with a few pots and paintings to put on consignment. Along the way I noticed a crowd
gathered around a man standing on top of the cab of a 1983 rusty, pea green,
Dodge pickup. The bed of the pickup was fitted up with two large speakers and a
generator. A line ran from the generator to a microphone in the man’s hand. He
looked like an old time preacher man in his cheap off the rack grey suit,
maroon tie, and black felt fedora. I slowed to a stop, then parked by the curb
and got out to see what was going on. As I listened the man claimed he was a
retired physicist and MIT professor and had a message. He said he had found God
and that, “God is all around us and in us and moving through the cables
and wires and phone lines and out of the ground and in the lightening and just
really everywhere.” He said that, “We have been so intent on making
God knowable that we have missed the obvious. God is energy, power, and all
that animates each and every thing in our world. It is an act of worship to
turn on an electric lamp. It is the great pylons and towers that carry his being
that we should be worshiping,” that and, “the sun and the plugs and
sockets and fuse boxes that bring God into our homes.” He said physicists
had, “known all this for some time. We don’t know anything about much more
than 5% of our universe. The rest of it is energy, that is, God. It fills
everything. There is no void, only God and a little bit of matter,” he
said. “God,” he said, “causes the universe to expand and fly
apart. This God bends light and zaps x-ray signals from star to star and galaxy
to galaxy just for fun.” “This same God,” he said, “can be
made to work on our behalf if only we believe and grasp this truth.”
“Throw away your testaments, your bibles. These were written by people
who did not understand the message of the burning bush. These books are
The banner that flew from the truck’s bed fluttered. It was printed on plastic
and rigged upright on a two by two. The background of the flag was midnight
blue and across the face of it was a bright, fluorescent streak of lightening
against a muted rendition of the Andromeda galaxy. The physicist’s props and his patter
moved the worn and weary who stood around stolidly though pelted regularly by swirling dust
devils from the desert that moved up and down the streets as dense and
frightening as a swarm of bees looking for their queen.
“We must,” he shouted in a rapid rhythmic cadence so that the last
word in each sentence was held for a beat or two, “study the words of
Teilhard de Chardin who said that the universe is ripening within itself the
fruit of a certain consciousness. That consciousness is the possibility that
God and power have a will and intention that can be called upon to shape our
world and us as it chooses. With our human concentration and meditation we
can break through to this God and all its energy and that God can become
manifest around us.”
“Eckhart, the mystic, told us this,” he said. “‘The shell must
be cracked,'” he told the crowd as he lowered his voice. Each word was
drawn out. He returned to the former rhythm then. “In joining the flow of
the energy, we can break through,” he said. “We have made a terrible
mistake in thinking to electrocute murderers is to punish them. These
people,” he said, “have gone straight to God and are with God. It is
we who deserve such deaths, not the evil among us.”
“Some have always known this secret, this great truth, he declared.
Michangelo knew. He put it into his Sistine Chapel painting of the creation of
Adam. That spark, that fiery glint of life that is shown passing from God’s
finger to Adam that was the secret made manifest. The Masons among the early
leaders of the United States knew and put the floating eye of energy above the
pyramid on our dollar bill. It’s been known by the few. Now we all know.”
The preacher physicist climbed down from the truck, jumped up into the cab,
turned the key, flattened the gas pedal against the floor, and sped in the
direction of the next town. He was traveling alone and no one had caught his
name if he had said it.
People drifted away and talked among themselves in excited clusters. But just
as I turned to get back to my business, there was a loud eerie cry and
something like the odor of outdoor grilling was in the air. Ribs or T-bones. It
had been a long time, but I recognized the stench of flesh. I nearly gagged. I
The same group of lost souls I’d seen around the pickup was gathering around a
tall tapered octagonal pillar, taller than any building in the town. It was
slender pole and there were a row of them, placed about a block apart one from
the other. At the top of each were two cross pieces each with four or five
glass insulators that caught the sunlight and held high voltage transmission
wires in place. A little further down the pole were the step down transformer
buckets that looked very much like a couple of rusty pressure cookers. Single strands of wire tautly to service lines that led to streetlights and businesses along the street.
A man had climbed up the pillar beyond the transformers and up to the high
voltage wires. He had made it to the highest wire, the one with the most
power running through it. In the early days of television, guys putting up
their own TV antennas were often electrocuted when their antennas toppled over
on to these high voltage wires. They were accidentally electrocuted. But this
man’s death was no accident. He was in his early 40s I guessed. He had a
scruffy thin black beard and wore a ball cap with a green and blue hawk icon on
the front of it. He was dressed in a white v-necked tee shirt and a pair of
jeans. His scuffed and grubby red wing work boots and socks were on the ground
below, blasted off his feet. He knew what he was doing because he had to
somehow have touched two opposing wires. He was still up there, grinning, hands
blacked and crisp, arms spread eagle against the top cross piece, legs dangling
below, supported by a couple of guy wires. He was smiling.
Below him, a woman stood crying and yelling, “Praise God, the power and
“Praise God, the all powerful.” The whole bunch that had been
listening to the physicist was gathered round now and laying hands on her and
one another. They could feel a tingle moving from hand to hand, they said.
Their eyes were closed and they swayed slightly to some silent rhythm.
I got in the Pinto and floored it. I drove out of town and home without taking time to drop off paintings or collect cash from last month’s sale.
I couldn’t stay away forever. I wondered what happened next and needed to get
some cash and other supplies, so I drove back in a couple of months. There were
stacks of newsletters called “The Current” on the counters of stores
I visited. I leafed through one. “The Current” was peppered with
stories of people finding God by touching open light sockets or dumping
“hot” radios into bathtubs while sitting in the water. It was the
most bizarre thing I’d ever heard of. There were posters glued to the cement
power poles in town that read, “You’ll get the shock of your life when you
find God.” I didn’t know whether to take this seriously. I avoided
speaking to anyone on the streets. I took my work to Polly. She suggested that
I begin bringing in paintings of the giant poles. People were looking for
symbols of energy for their homes. Polly was ever the one to see an opportunity
to make a buck.
“The tourism is bound to increase. We’ve had some national attention
because the movement started here,” she said.
“Oh yes,” she said. “That preacher there,” she tapped a photograph on the cover of “The
Current,” with the long nail of her right hand index finger. It had been enameled with a shiny replica of power pole, “That preacher,” she said, “has been offered a national television show. It’s called ‘Power and Glory’. He’s on once a week. And it all started here.”
I couldn’t get home fast enough.
One morning when I stepped outside my house, there was a very small Asian man
using a rag to wipe the dust off the fenders and hood of his newish black
Accord. The chrome on the bumpers was already spotless, so shiny his smooth,
smiling face was reflected from the front one when he leaned over the hood to
wipe the license tag. I don’t know how long he’d been there. He was five feet
one or two at the most and wore a light-weight barong tagalog shirt and a straw
hat with a snap-brim. He wadded the cloth up into a ball, opened the trunk of
the car, and tossed it in when he saw me. “Do you know where the gathering
is to be?” he asked me. Of course I didn’t. I didn’t know there was a
gathering. “Never mind,” he said, “I’ll find it.”
During the day, dozens of vehicles passed my house. There were Airstreams and
tear-drops and food trucks and cars that were barely running. They coughed and
spluttered and left dark oil stains on the roadway. Large metal canisters of
gas or water or both were strapped to their tops along with extra tires. I saw
a couple of model-T trucks with the hoods removed and engines and radiators
exposed. Then there were the RVs as big as Greyhound buses with solar panels
and TV antennas and pop out porches and poodle dogs peering out windows.
By the evening, the traffic thinned out and I leashed the dogs and gingerly walked down
the road so I could see where they had all been heading. I reached the
outskirts of a large encampment in about twenty minutes.
There were drummers in the middle of several concentric rings of people seated
in folding chairs. Some were people were dancing around but most just sat and
stared up at the towers. Or at the sky. I had a couple of brief conversations
and was told that they were all looking for a sign. This was the center of the
Movement because it was from these posts that the electricity that joined the
first believer to the power of God had come. Someone produced a map of the grid
to show me. Sure enough. The tower they were under held a line that looped over
the desert and a few hills and headed directly toward the town.
What I didn’t realize was that many people had already begun their fast. They
were preparing to climb the towers within the week, sometimes several at a
time, and wanted to be “pure” when they touched God. Meanwhile,
vendors set up to sell tee-shirts with “End of Time” slogans and the
lightening image against a black background. There were ball caps and flags and
books and brochures and palm readers and dog toys and cat beds, all with the
same logo or with a picture of Michelangelo’s creation of Adam. The hottest
seller showed the logo’s lightening strike as a representation of the spark of
life that jumped from God’s finger to Adam’s.
There were photographs being taken of the towers themselves, many with devotees
of the new religion posed against the lattice and, incidentally, my paintings.
Of course if you preferred, there were vendors available to take photographs
for a price and print them right on the spot. You could buy a button with a
picture of yourself touching a tower strut and the statement “I touched
God” printed over it.
You could buy a chit to use the portable toilets and other chits for jugs of
water available courtesy of the local Rotary Club. The county Democrats were
selling hamburgers. Some said the smell of meat was in poor taste. The Demos
switched to veggie burgers by the next morning.
One night, The drums and chanting did not stop at the usual time and around one in the morning I heard some whistles and booms. I scraped a chair across the floor to my porch, and sat out
to see the fireworks show. People applauded and cheered. Then the drums began
again. I got back to sleep around 3.
This was the morning, they had told me, that people would begin the climb. So I
made a cup of coffee and sipped it as I watched the sunrise beyond the eastern
mountains and strolled to the site. I had become a little blasé about all of this. From what I could gather from the chatter, not all were aiming for the tops of the towers and the high voltage. Some
planned simply to tie themselves to the crossbars and stay there facing the
blazing sun until they died. But the main show, of course, would be the people
who made it all the way and joined hands with the source, the manifestation of
God on earth.
The climbs happened daily after that. The encampment became semi-permanent for some. Because we were at the peak of a sunspot cycle, odd disturbances to the geomagnetic field on earth caused the power grid to fluctuate and sometimes one had to hang on to the wires for a few
minutes before being electrocuted. Northern lights could be seen even at our
latitude. Lightening storms were frequent, especially in the distint mountains.
Everything was taken as a sign. And still there was no rain and the river and
dammed lake levels dropped lower.
Nobody much cared because the whole world had gone to hell. I was fine. But rumor
was that there were actually wars being fought over water. I was told that
several small Pacific Island nations had moved to the Northwest and established
colonies in the national forests. Nobody could stop them. Nobody was bothered by much of anything anymore. Somebody passing by one day reported that humans had abandoned the whole of North Africa and Greenland, and Finland, though without machinery or power,
were growing orchards full of peaches and apricots. Somebody said Alaska native
peoples had started vineyards.
One day, a climber touched a wire, hung on. Time passed and nothing
happened. Not even a little shock. Another followed her up and tried. Nothing.
The people below were alarmed. Rumors started. “We’ve been
abandoned,” they said, as one after another people climbed and lived.
Slowly, they all packed up their tents and campers and moved out.
A few come by still on their way to lay flowers or take photographs. All the
charred body bits and picked, dried bones were long since collected by
entrepreneurs who placed them in tiny beribboned reliquaries and sold them as
one might sell the remains of a saint.
I am happy and living pretty much the way I was before the towers and the
believers came. The people digging had already gone by the end of the Movement frenzy. That digging and drilling had been a last ditch effort to produce power for the cities. They mucked up the land but though it was desecrated, I’m doing my best to restore it. I want the birds to return, the beetles to come back, the ants
to bring their eggs home. I want to hear the crickets and the coyotes and the
ravens. I will do what I can. Someday the rain will return and it will find a
place free of hurt, a place prepared to accept it. I fill the holes, I bless
the scars, and I speak to every sign of life. Jerome is with me when I do this
work. Jerome is always with me.