The PVP Diaries #73

Wait wait WAIT. 5:30? In the morning? I thought it was 6:30. I’m not feeling very “out of bed at 5:30” today, so I must have been reading the clock wrong. I’ll have to go back upstairs and check. Between the rain and the tinnitus I was probably just going to lay there awake for a while, anyway, so it really doesn’t matter. Gives me more time alone with my coffee. Coffee and….Roger Waters? Polarizing fellow, I know. But I’ve like most of his stuff, even post-Floyd. I do remember listening to an album he made sometime maybe 10 years ago. It was lousy. But let’s drift back to The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. Classic Pink Floyd-ish album that tells a story. A panicked flight from civilization, sex (slightly unhealthy?), failed Thoreau-ian escapism, alcoholism, psychotic collapse, eventual comfort. Maybe:

[Waitress:] "You wanna cup of coffee?"
[Customers:] "Heh, Turn that *****ing juke box down
You want to turn down that juke box....loud in here"
[Waitress:] "I'm sorry, would you like a cup of coffee?
Ok, you take cream and sugar? Sure."
In truck stops and hamburger joints
In Cadillac limousines
In the company of has-beens
And bent-backs
And sleeping forms on pavement steps
In libraries and railway stations
In books and banks
In the pages of history
In suicidal cavalry attacks
I recognise...
Myself in every stranger's eyes

And in wheelchairs by monuments
Under tube trains and commuter accidents
In council care and county courts
At Easter fairs and sea-side resorts
In drawing rooms and city morgues
In award winning photographs
Of life rafts on the China seas
In transit camps, under arc lamps
On unloading ramps
In faces blurred by rubber stamps
I recognise...
Myself in every stranger's eyes

And now, from where I stand
Upon this hill
I plundered from the pool
I look around
I search the skies
I shade my eyes
So nearly blind
And I see signs of half remembered days
I hear bells that chime in strange familiar ways
I recognise...
The hope you kindle in your eyes

It's oh so easy now
As we lie here in the dark
Nothing interferes, it's obvious
How to beat the tears
That threaten to snuff out
The spark of our love

We had a downed tree on the road just outside our not-so-dead-end street yesterday. It had been pretty blustery the night before. I headed out Monday morning to do the homework kit distribution at The Boy’s school, and ran into this. It’s bigger than it looks. I do think I probably could have wrangled it out of the way, but that’s a pretty soft probably. There was a brief internal dialogue about the gritty self-reliance that could clear the mess right away and do the neighbors a service, right now, vs. driving off in the other direction and calling the government to come clean it up, eventually. I chose the latter, and still feel dirty. My strongest rationalization was that even though the area still had power, I didn’t have time to be sure that there weren’t any power lines involved in the mess. Besides, it’s just as fast (for me) to turn around and go the other way. Depending on the destination, the direction in which we leave the house is often just a matter of how we feel at the time. The victory was secured by The State on this day.

It’s pretty perfectly laid across the road, though. Conspicuously so. For just a short, quick-pulsed second I had that ambush feeling.

The neighbor dads and I are looking to go in together on one good-sized, gas powered chainsaw for us to use in case a tree comes down sometime that hems us into our not-so-dead-end street (or worse, God forbid). Waiting for Seattle DOT to come out on their schedule won’t be feeling like a very good idea at that point.

It’s funny, I just found the COVID-19 Glossary on the King County site. You know how I love me some definitions. Check this one out:

Obviously this kind of thing is about as moving as a coma by now. “Often overestimates the actual…” Translation: “Does not represent reality.” Err on the side of panic, I guess. CYA. I understand. I guess I recognize myself in every stranger’s attempt to go blameless.

“…and can make a disease seem more deadly than it is.” You don’t mean to say…it couldn’t really be possible that…I mean, no. Right?

Also, I was thinking yesterday, has there been a single announcement from the CDC along the lines of “Hey! Good news!” or has literally everything they’ve learned been worse than what they already knew? I don’t think SCIENCE is any different than we poor, common people when it comes to a bias towards the negative. Especially in groups. Company loves misery.

Wind advisory today, gusts up to 50mph. We might be looking for that chainsaw sooner than we thought.

On Purpose

When I was building the plague patio, I remember using the plate compactor. I loved it. I love things that are built for a specific purpose – especially if it’s a kind of odd, very specialized purpose – and does it really well. I mean, that plate compactor is good for maybe two things: compacting solid surfaces, and weighing down bodies at the bottom of a lake. To fire that thing up, look at the chaos in front of me, then look back at the order and beauty that it left behind, was a truly gratifying, steadying experience.

I read a short book once about the healthiest, longest-living communities in the world. There were a handful scattered around, from a town somewhere in California, to an Italian island, a city I think in Japan, maybe China. In other words, all over the world, thoroughly separate from one another, yet full of healthy people who lived long lives. I think the author called them Blue Zones. (Yes). In his research, the writer found that all of the zones shared a small number, maybe 5, of common characteristics. Diets varied because of differing climates/agricultures, but I think there were common food threads along the lines of maybe low salt content, little to no processed foods, etc. One of the things that stuck out for me, the thing I always think of first when I remember that book, was that they all believed in having a purpose. Something to get you up and going in the morning that feels important. Something to gratify and steady you.

In that regard I think I envy the activists and the protesters. It cannot be said that they don’t wake up with a purpose every day. They are probably gratified and steadied by it, to a great extent. Especially because they are in no danger of waking up and feeling like they aren’t needed. No danger of feeling purposeless. Except things are blurry there, because a protester may wake up saying “My purpose is to create justice,” but what that really means in practical terms is “my purpose is to find injustice.” Their purpose dies without it. What happens when your purpose depends on horror? You make sure you don’t run out of it.

So beware, I guess, the dedicated problem solvers. They’ll do more than anyone else to make sure there are problems to solve.

I don’t know what my purpose is. Home and family, broadly speaking. Specifically, things like this:

I could certainly scrounge up a before picture, but won’t. It originally matched the other cabinets – maple, smooth, flat, no depth or character – so we got weird and wanted to start changing things. Initially we thought we’d paint all of the cabinets, but that’s a pain in the neck and we’re stopping with the island. It matches the wainscoting I just did in the entry with the shaker/craftsman style. This is the 4th different look I’ve given this island in 3 years. The butcher block has been there through 3 of them, and isn’t going anywhere. Unless we move. If that happens (when, eventually), we’re going to replace it with something cheap, and take it with us wherever we go. That walnut top is the sort of thing that lives are built around.

My next purpose is the floor. I’m replacing all of that, too. I guess we’re not moving for a long time.

Other purposes? I’ve been taking piano lessons for several months now. I like it, but I didn’t practice at all last week. The teacher is going to be disappointed in me tonight.

Arabic – I found a reputable place through which I can take online courses, and have applied. They’re past due on responding to me, so I have to follow up there.

Anyway, Hitler had a purpose. Dahmer had a purpose. Looters have a purpose. Don’t mistake purpose for virtue, I guess. It’s one thing to wake up with something that motivates you, it’s quite another thing to be able to go to bed knowing you’ve left behind something beautiful.

This Autumn Friday

The flame in our gas fireplace doesn’t get very high. For a couple of years it also took a long time to light. We’d flip the switch and wait, and step back a little bit, and watch with that jack-in-the-box tension building until it suddenly blasted on with a force that rattled the glass. It was a situation that hinted not very subtly at eventual disaster, and I did the usual thing: Searched the internet for quick fixes to my problem, and found none. Then I searched around for local gas fireplace services, found a few but balked at the probable price tag, combined with the (at the time) possibility that they wouldn’t even come into our house anyway. I eventually figured out what the problem was and what needed to be fixed (that internet again. If you don’t have one yet…), ordered a couple of parts that arrived in 2 days, installed them and got our fire turning on in a way that can probably be best described with a clever British turn of phrase that begins with “right as” and invokes biscuits, the Queen’s ankles, or something seaworthy. Or a combination of the three. “Right as eating biscuits off the Queen’s ankles in a cuddy boat.” Something. Like. That.

So now we don’t have to run out of the house when we turn the fire on and wait for it to ignite, but the flame isn’t any bigger. I assume that with more flame there would be more heat, but it rarely gets anything like cold here in Seattle, so It isn’t a real concern. As it is, the low flame makes for a really nice morning mood. Any hotter and I wouldn’t want the blanket. Any brighter and I wouldn’t be quite so relaxed. As much as I would love a real fire, part of what I love about the dark winter mornings is the quiet and solitude. If I had to rattle irons and logs, and wrestle with a flue catch, and kick up a burning wood smell in the house, it would probably just wake everyone up.

Robert Hayden knew about waking up with fire:

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

I wrote a paper about that poem a few years ago. Organized it into three sections, each one focused on one word in the title. It was one of those papers that was more fun than work.

The PVP Diaries #72

There are frogs croaking with an Amazonian thickness in the section of the Green River that runs alongside The Boy’s soccer practice. It’s a huge facility down in Tukwila where the Sounders sometimes practice. Tonight it is neither the frogs nor the Sounders that have my attention. Rather it is is the fact that for the first time since returning to practice (that must have been July, maybe June), they are going to be able to compete. Practice has returned to a full-contact situation, so they won’t be relegated to their little orange cone cages in the corners of the field. They’ll be all over the place, knocking into each other, tugging on shirts, lowering shoulders, and maybe even throwing the occasional elbow. Until now, soccer practice has been a sad little exercise in wishing it didn’t suck. A test of patience and the ability of a nine year-old boy to think of the long term in order to tolerate a lousy short term.

It didn’t work. He hated it. He complained every day that he had practice. Begged us to let him quit so much that we almost gave in. But in the absence of an alternative, we weren’t going to tale away his only real physical outlet. His pent up energy would be the end of us all. But yesterday he heard that practices would be full-on again, with no social distancing, and his attitude changed. A little. It wasn’t very perceptible, because he’s guarded and would be giving away far too much of himself if he were to come out and say that he was happy to go play soccer. He continued to insist that soccer is lame, but gave himself away a little by saying that he was just looking forward to trying out his new soccer shoes (my God, their feet grow fast). He’s only nine, but he already acts as stupid as the rest of us. My work is done.

Fast forward! It’s tomorrow now. Today, Thursday. The phone just buzzed and showed me that The Girl has an actual soccer game on the schedule now. October 17th. I am an eternal optimist, but also a realist, and I think that 10 days is more than enough time for everything to be rolled back, and I won’t be at all surprised if the game gets canceled before they get to play. Wouldn’t make much sense for them to cancel it afterwards.

I said it here before, I doubt this will be the last time. I know that people “aren’t ready” for close contact. That for a lot of people this is all happening too fast. But I remember that none of those people had any trouble trusting the government (and the science and data it cited) when the government was shutting us down. It’s the same government, the same science, and the same data that are opening us back up, so it doesn’t make any sense to choose (and it is a choice) not to trust them now. And this isn’t exactly fast. We’re still in a world of social distancing markers on the floors, one-way grocery store aisles, special shopping hours for vulnerable populations, mostly – and very often fully – remote schooling in most areas, mask requirements just about everywhere indoors, pro sports with no fans, closed parking lots at parks, and sad, sheepish anticipation for every little peep that comes out of the governor’s office. We’re not walking the plank here. We’re dipping a toe or two.

And if I’m being honest, I do fully expect to see it rolled back. There will be an increase in positive cases soon, unless the governor thinks he can be re-elected without it. So we’ll cancel our soccer games, tape off the playgrounds, close the libraries, and increase capacity at bars, with expanded hours. For you know, coping. I might finally get actually annoyed when there’s a vaccine, fully vetted and approved by SCIENCE and issued by TEH GUVERMINT, and the people who have based every step of their COVID lives on government-relayed declarations from scientists are suddenly all “you’re just gonna believe it’s safe because they said so?”

People are friggin’ weird.

One more development to report now that it’s the future. It happened last night as I was saying goodnight to The Boy. We had just finished our highly classified bedtime ritual when he looked at me and said, “I can’t wait for practice on Saturday. I really like soccer now.” He’s a better man than I. It would have taken me months to change my tune.

-Get back in the game, Comrade Citizen!-

The PVP Diaries #71

Yay, Jay.

They won’t let me stop writing plague diaries! After what felt like months without much movement beyond the usual bickering, we had a slew of changes announced yesterday. Among them: bars get to shut down an hour later every night, which is nice because the streets will be that much emptier for the drunk drivers. It’s utterly (*searches for an adjective to convey the proper level of emphasis without falsely indicating surprise) stomach-turning (that’ll do!) to note how important alcohol is to our society. In a global pandemic that has people clawing at each other’s faces in pursuit of the right way to react, the best way to limit the spread, the best balance between safety and freedom in order to minimize the death toll, every single step has been a (sometimes clumsy) dance of prioritization. When historians study us and want to know what we considered to be the most important elements of a healthy society, they will look at our response to COVID-19 and see that the fetters came off of public alcohol abuse more quickly than library access. Go team.

Masks/no masks, six feet/ten feet/no feet, I don’t much care. I mean, you see the (wobbly and hesitant, again) steps they’re taking to get us back on the right track, get us back to a semblance of life like it was back in February, and it of course it isn’t going to be good enough for some people. Especially the ones who insist that everyone in a mask is an idiot who will go gleefully to the gas chambers, which are being built as we speak, at a joint CDC-CNN compound on a plot of land in upstate New York, where AOC will serve your pre-shower coffee to keep you buzzing about fair trade beans while you wait your turn.

But for what I am guessing is a majority of us (yikes – assuming majorities is dangerous work), the loosening of restrictions is simply a welcome step. Something to be pleased about (don’t confuse that with celebratory), and a sign that we’re getting somewhere. Let’s take our time. I don’t have any particular interest in the idea of ripping off the Band-aid. Society is fickle, and to exercise some compassion and generosity in this situation means going slow enough that the people who are still really scared of this thing – whatever you may think of them or their reasons – don’t come completely apart. Not for the selfish reason that it would constitute a problem for the rest of us, but for a reason that we tend to have a very hard time recognizing as legitimate: because it’s kind. Being kind is enough of a reason to do anything.

It is interesting to note that the people who were the least resistant to the restricting of personal liberties are also the ones most resistant to the restoration of them. The people shouting “too soon!” “I’m not ready!” I guess it just goes to show that – whether there was any intended tyranny in the lockdowns and mask mandates or not – in any given population there is a significant number of social agoraphobics who are the most comfortable with the fewest options. Maybe that line at the gas chamber will be longer than I think.

So we’re getting there, slooooowly, and as election day grows nearer I think we can expect to be thoroughly dizzied by the ups and downs, the giving only to take back, then maybe given again, maybe not. But keep your ammo in the bunker for now. We haven’t woken up years later to find out that the virus is gone but the restrictions are not. For all the garment-rending we hear about how this has all been paving the way to an Orwellian future of dirty gray coveralls and electrodes on the nipples for public displays of general happiness, it’s just not happening. Wasn’t ever going to, but preppers gotta prep. I guess what it boils down to for me is this: Nobody reads 1984 and says “Oh yeah, that’s what I want.” Not the left, not the right, not the middle. Not the leaders, not the followers. It’s universally deplorable. Yet everyone seems to be able to point to how the other side is marching us straight there at a double-time. Have you read 1984? I mean yeah, that’s a world in which nobody wants to live. But it occurs to me that it’s also a world over which nobody would want to reign. Why we always think people are trying to get there is beyond me.

-A bar is just a booze library, Comrade Citizen!-

Could it Be? A PVP Diary? #70

All play areas in Seattle parks will reopen to the public on October 6.” I guess that’s something. Key takeaways:

Play equipment is open to five or fewer kids at a time – Good luck with that.

Give yourself and others at least six feet of space – Kids? On a playground? Six feet? Even gooder luck with that.

We are all in this together, so kindly remind others of the guidelines and find a different activity if the play area gets too crowded – There’s the real craw-sticker right there. First of all, sure, we’re all in this together. But not the way you think. More like the way the crew of the Essex were in it together, up to and including the point when they had to draw lots to see who would be shot for food. Also don’t forget to note the gentle reminder, the tacit permission from the state to be your neighbor’s keeper, with or without their permission. What could go wrong?

“Excuse me, but I noticed your child is the sixth person on the playground. She’s endangering the other children. Can you please remove her until someone leaves?”

The worst part is that it will happen. Karens will Karen, after all, especially when the dot-gov is right there telling them it’s their duty.

They’re reopening the parking lots at the city parks, too, but not until the 13th. Don’t want those play structures to be flooded with 5 kids at a time for another week yet, I guess. The continued parking lot closures are a bit funny, considering that we’ve been able to eat indoors at restaurants for quite a while now. We can interact, maskless, and pass dishes and food between strangers inside a building, but if you want to walk along the beach you have to park across the street. For the Public Good. There’s been so much weird dissonance in this whole thing.

I’m not really paying attention to the plague stats here, aside from what the West Seattle Blog posts in its daily update. I’ve dipped a toe in the water this morning, though. Nobody’s really dying anymore in King County. I think something like 10 in the last 2 weeks. Out of 2.2 million people. I don’t find that to be a particularly behavior-altering stat. 2% of King County hospital beds have COVID patients.

I suppose this graph means the percentage of total tests administered that come up positive over a 7 day period. Averaged. 2.5% is as un-alarming as the death numbers. 97.5% of tests for COVID-19 are negative. Is this the sort of thing that battens our hatches? Really? Oh, I forgot, we can put 5 kids on a playground now. Clearly our grip on reality is firm.

I can tell you that the Homeless in Coronafornia situation remains largely unchanged. He had a strange windfall of money come pouring in, in the form of a COVID relief package that he was able to get by applying for unemployment insurance. There will be more coming in over the next few months. I will not be naive enough to believe that a few thousand dollars could turn around and rescue a life like his, and I try not wish he would have put it to better use. I certainly do not begrudge him for having some good food and comfortable hotel stays for a little while. He says that many people out on the streets are unaware or incapable of figuring out how to access that COVID relief money. Naturally, predators have swooped in, offering to help them apply for and receive the money, and charging a steep percentage of the take to do it. There’s sickness out there far worse than anything a Chinese bat can give us.

Pack the playgrounds thick, Comrade Citizen!


Oh man, I wrote these words on March 20:

When the messages painted on the windows progress from “OPEN TO GO,” to “NO FOOD,” we’ll be in trouble. From there we’re only a National Guard call-up away from saying “LOOTERS WILL BE SHOT.” 

Really got my Nostradamus on there. Not about the food of course, but the NG and the looters – well I suppose you can say that riots are just around the corner any time you want to say it, and it won’t be long before someone proves you right. IN this case it wasn’t food and toilet paper that had them marauding into businesses through smashed storefronts, it was the essentials: Louis Vuitton handbags and North Face jackets.

We did not have food shortages. And we do not have food shortages here. Yesterday, the girl child made doughnuts for the first time in a while. It’s October, so she went full decorative gourd season and made pumpkin spice flavor. I believe I have just heard the coffee pot go silent, so it’s time to grab a cup of joe and a doughnut and see what’s what.

Dense dough, a little overcooked. Completely delicious.

Off in a few minutes to go handout homework kits at The Boy’s school. People drive through the alley at the school’s entrance, pop their trunks, and we remove the homework they’re turning in, replacing it with the work for the week ahead. Some people don’t pop their trunks (or let’s be honest here, the hatches on their SUV’s – that’s the majority of vehicles out there) because they actually have a car old enough that it doesn’t have an automatic, electronic, mind-controlled door release mechanism. Those people lean out their windows and try to yell to us behind their cars, “you have to – no! You have to push the – right under the keyhole, under the – it’s a place where you can put the key to lock and unlock – what? Yes, I do still have to actually use a key to start my car, but just press there under the keyhole there and – yeah, there you go.”

Some folks are slightly less concerned about disease transmission, so they just make the exchange between actual hands, through the driver’s window. There’s usually 3 of us passing out the kits, parents from different grades, and between us we know a lot of the people coming through, so fetching their kids’ kits from the bins is automatic. For some, though, we have to ask who their kids are, and I always feel like a jerk for that. Like someone who’s way too important to have taken the time to get to know them. Not true in any way, of course. You can’t know everyone. But you also can’t help feel what you’re feeling, until you’ve done the work to change that emotional pathway for yourself. It doesn’t happen automatically.

There’s one very cautious fellow who doesn’t even roll down his window, and none of us know him, so he holds up a sign in his window with the names and grades of his two children. My guess is that he disinfects the homework bags when he gets home, before touching them.

Quick fade, as I have to head out: The fact that I always select my music – for posting here – in the mornings has a lot to do with my choices. I don’t do fast in the morning. Or bright, generally. With music or anything else. I like it low and slow. I also liked Netflix’s series Dark, as much for the music as anything. This is the opening theme:

Hold back and
Fight among the stars
We could be the lucky ones
If we could only levitate
Fly low dear
Dance beneath the trees
If only we had oxygen
Then we’d begin to breathe

And we can watch
While the beauty takes its toll
And we can stop
While the world retreats

Lie low dear
Fix yourself a life
We could be the wealthy ones
If we could only emigrate
These walls get closer by the night
Everything is delicate
And everything in flight

And we can watch
While the beauty takes its toll
And we can stop
While the world retreats

It’s dark in the mornings again, so I’m back to prepping the coffee at night and sitting in the dark house for the short run before people start waking up. My wife will also be up early (already is today), but she’ll go straight to the office and get to work.

I was up much later than usual two nights ago, having attended one of those themed parties where I was the only one who showed up and everyone (still just me) had to get a new modem and router configured before they (I) went to bed. Everyone else was already sleeping.

We have moments at home now when four of us are on different Zoom calls at the same time, and it shows. What’s a fella to do? I upgraded the Internet service to a 1 gigabit plan, a large increase from our previous plan of 250 megabits. I found out tout suite (not really using that properly) that our modem was not robust enough for a gigabit’s worth of sauce, so I put my googlefingers to work, found a modem/router combo that would represent egregious overkill in terms of bandwidth capacity, and Amazonned it up. The new modem powered up nicely, then at some point when I wasn’t looking the lights all went into an epileptic episode of some sort, which I found through a quick internet search indicated a thoroughly bricked status. Pack it back up and return it, wait for the replacement.

Replacement arrived. (And keep in mind the beauty of this all taking place in a space of 3 days, with no shipping charges) Finally, Wednesday night, my wife wrapped up her meeting with her team in India at about 11:30 and I got to work on installing the new goods. Modem did great. Comcast cooperated. The router resisted. At about 1:00 am, I plugged the old modem (with built-in router) back in and went to bed. I’ll get back into that crap this weekend. For now I just want to mow the lawn and spread some grass seed. The weather’s perfect for it.

I hear the President has tested positive for COVID-19. This should be…another chance to be disappointed in just about everybody.

I just deleted several paragraphs because I remembered that I got in trouble a few years back for writing about something related the boy’s school (at the time, the girl was there as well) which violated their policy for people volunteering at the school. I did not know because I had never been shown said policy, but ignorance is no excuse, and all that. But in that instance there was a sort of socio-political slant to what I had written – and not the approved slant, at that – so I had to remove the post. I didn’t like the censorship vibe, but I read the policy and she was correct – I had violated it. No use kicking and screaming.

It was a post I had written on 9/11, I think in 2018, briefly lamenting such things as false sincerity and weaponized compassion. It contained this picture and this poem (and I’ll leave it at that):

Pictures of Churches

I just want to take pictures of churches
and say nice things.
To listen to autumn.
To listen to wind.
To stop saying sorry - 
I didn’t mean to offend.

I just want to take pictures of churches
but not with my phone.
With a childish foresight.
With a childish need.
With a long-lonely longing
to be whispered to sleep.

I just want to take pictures of churches
and say nice things.
I want father to hear them.
I want mother with me.
I want these thin thirty years
to fall into the sea.

I had been working for a very long time on another poem that I was going to release on 9/11 this year, but I forgot. It’ll have to wait until next year, which is for the best because it really isn’t ready anyway.

Let’s Reflect on Heaven

Symmetry is an answer key –
kind, like a held hand.
But Love, go out and find for me –
in our infinity of mirrorlands,
some mathless magic in the sea –
a scientist’s anomaly.
Love, go make discoveries!
Write them in divine shorthand.
Find – but don’t bring back to me!
that sanctified asymmetry.
The matchless wing, the squareless root,
will die here in captivity.
Then – come back and lay with me –
show me what you’ve written down.
Fingers like a drunken bee
will trace an ‘up’ that needn’t ‘down’
and mate the palms of unlike hands
to pray like only difference can.