Well, would you believe it, but there's actually a book called "Random Acts of Kindness by Animals". I haven't read it yet, but it's gone on my wishlist. I just read this snippet, which is rather sad I have to say, but it is truly remarkable what it says about the profound nature of the dolphin. It really puts to shame those who doesn't believe in animal emotion. Here it goes...
"Because mother dolphins nurse their young for so long – eighteen months or about as long as human mothers nurse – the mother child bond is very strong. Many times a dolphin will not desert another dolphin who is in trouble even if it costs them their own life. When infant dolphins are trapped in tuna nets, their mothers will try desperately to join them. Then the mothers will cuddle close to their babies and sing to them as the both drown. The tuna industry’s official acknowledgment of this remarkable phenomenon is that most of the dolphins killed are mothers and infants."
Just like I felt, I'm sure you'll feel deeply moved by what appears like more than just a maternal instinct. Apparently in recent findings in MRI scans of dolphin brains it's been proved that dolphin brains are intricate with a neocortex more highly convoluted than our own and that it is structured to allow for self-awareness and the processing of complex emotions. These facts are from dolphin expert Lori Marino at Emory university, and she goes on to say that the part of the dolphin brain associated with processing emotional information is particularly expanded.
Very much could be said about this, but it becomes kind of apparent why industries doesn't heed these kind of findings. Imagine the complications.
You've probably tried it - to feed a wild animal in nature. Mostly you'll have to just leave some food, but sometimes they're so keen that they'll come real close. You can see that they don't quite trust what will happen, so they're a bit careful how close they get. In case intentions weren't entirely straight. Well, aren't we like that?
Some years ago I experienced this whilst in Florida with my husband. We were sat in a diner having a cup of coffee when an old lady quietly came over and placed a small gift on my side of the table and asked if I would like a gift? There was absolutely nothing threathening about her, but I was surprised by this sudden kindness, so I was frankly a bit speechless. I did in all honesty feel a bit suspicious why a stranger would walk up to me and give me a gift. My husband could feel my predicament, so he actually asked her what it was. And then she started chattering about how she loved taking photos of the local wildlife and how she loved for visitors to have a little memory to bring home. It was a pack of 6 handmade cards with pictures and envelopes. And she was the sweetest thing! I couldn't believe my initial mistrust, but on the other hand, who hasn't tried being in a foreign country where you suddenly get something stuck in your hand - seeemingly for free - but then it turns out it comes at a price.
I found the act of this old lady so inspirational because it's an act that contributes to replacing suspicion with a pleasant surprise and trust. If this kind of trust spread among humans, animals would probably begin to trust human intentions more freely. I try myself in small ways to place pleasant surprises (in one way or another) and in my experience there's no end to how someone wants to thank you. And it's not about the expectancy of the thanks in return, but the fact that it opens somone mind to the seemingly impossible. It's got a tremendous ripple effect!
As for the cards from the old lady I remember one in particular... it was an image of a pelican. I was absolutely fascinated by it because of their peculiar beak. You'd think it's designed for having breakfast, lunch and dinner in one mouthful, LOL!
Yesterday Sky News showed one of those headlines that should be obligatory everyday... just as an antidote to all the distressing items that floods the news these days.
It was about this gorgeous newborn baby antelope which has just been born in Chester zoo in England. She is being hand-reared by keepers after cold weather apparently interfered with her mother's maternal instincts.
If there's such a thing as cute levels, then this one is off the chart - don't you think!? If that was my desk she was standing on I wouldn't get a thing done all day! She's absolutely precious.
A dear friend of mine sent me an interesting article the other day. It's about a recent study which reveals, that those that are considered good female leaders often have a background with horses.
The study shows that girls who's been used to the horse stable environment will later do well in the business world because they've been used the responsibility looking after a living creature. Also the ability of co-operation is something they will have gained through working with a horse, and that skill combined with a sense of responsibility is important traits of a good leader. Coexistence with the horse and others in the stable will train young girls in communication and what it means to take a leading role. It is said that this seperates horse riding from other hobbies because horse riding will challenge girls in ways that creates a sense of identity. Also abilities such as non-verbal communication, patience, caring for others and being able to work systematically and with the awareness of consequences are attributed to a daily routine working with horses.
Maybe it's time for a lesson on a horseback? LOL!!
What do you see when you look towards the future? What do you envisage? Yes, I very much believe in the now and being present in this very moment, but if you allow yourself to think about the future in terms of positive change and progress - what do you see you can contribute with? If we put our minds towards it, we can all add something - big or small - to the evolving picture of life on this planet.
My husband is one of the founders of Template for Change, which is a group of exellent people, who individually and collectively explores what it means to establish templates for change, based on 7 essential world citizen mind-shifts. You can read more about that ontheir website.
On this blog I take the liberty of exploring what kind of mind-shifts I would propose in relation to our dear co-inhabitants... and what an exellent opportunity! It's so liberating to let your mind have a go and your feed-back contributes greatly towards the struggle for further refinement and future explorations.
Isn't this how constitutions, laws and entire belief systems come into practise? And if you see a need for a new way forward, why not be the one to propose it?!
Today I had the great privilege of being invited to witness the daily routine of a truly kind vet and the sweetest veterinary nurse in a local cat shelter. It was brilliant seeing their tremendous effort and boy, what a team effort. Their efficiency was remarkable and when I witnessed how fast, safe and smooth they managed to neuter several cats I just simply couldn't believe how there aren't more neuter programmes in some of those countries where cat numbers are out of control, disease runs rampant and the life quality of the cats are just appalling. Here we are really talking about how a very small effort could make a gigantic difference.
Last night I made a little prayer, hoping that no cats would have to be put down. But... the most adorable couple of young brothers came in, where one of them had developed a progressing blindness and was already in considerable pain. After he had his initial examination he was put back in the cage with his concerned brother, who instantly 'nursed' him with some loving preening. Yes, you can imagine all the heartache when it became apparent that he had to be put to sleep. The grief stricken couple, the brother left behind, the nurse, the leader of the cat shelter and even the vet! I tried to remain 'objective' but it was completely impossible. And grief just stings in such a God awful way. I felt so sad for this little guy - and it's tough when one moment he's sat safely tucked against his brother and the next...
So yes, I really had to get it through my system and the best way was with the realization that this little pussy had so many 'big people' choked up! He'd made some impact! This little life had definitely mattered!! Isn't it remarkable that one of Gods little people can stirr human emotions and feelings like this? It really does move me.
It's been a real 'cycle of life' day. Tonight I shall send a embracing thought to the 'brother' left behind.
The picture above is not of the two brothers, but is of similar age and loving mutual affinity.
I've written about these ethereal little creatures before - but aren't hummingbirds just a little bit of perfection!? They really are like something taken staight out of a fairy world with their fluttering wings - too fast for the naked eye - and their nests held together with spider webs, padded with plant down and camouflaged with lichen.
A few days ago there was a sweet post about dog therapy over at Sunshine's blog. It inspired me very much, because it is such a simple idea and yet it is proven again and again to work. Just take a look at these extracts from a moving article about the effects of animal assisted therapy in children that's been traumatized in one way or another.
"Children and animals - a beneficial relationship"...
- Animals behave "neutrally" towards people. They mirror what others do, rather than making judgements. Animals are not calculating - they give and take without making conditions.
- It is obvious to them (children) that helpless animals depend on the care of humans. They develop a sense of empathy and their instinct to care for others changes their behavior patterns. Caring for animals encourages the children to develop relationships that boost their identity and their relationships with the animals make it possible for them to become more emotionally mature.
- Animals behave in a way that corresponds to human emotions, which means that they are real partners that must be valued, and this can result in trust and comfort, and support the children in developing social and emotional skills. Through the animals, the children gain new and additional experiences of relationships and learn to transfer these skills to their behavior towards other people.
- The children's strengths come out when they are caring for the animals, not their weaknesses. The reality is that there is a creature that is more in need of help than the children or young people themselves. Caring for the animals makes the children care for themselves.
- Since animals relate to people independent of social values and norms, they convey a sense of complete acceptance and therefore the feeling of being accepted and important.
- Animals show their feelings. They act as a stimulant. The children share the animals' feelings and experiences, so they develop a sense of empathy. Studies show that children and young people who grow up with animals are better at putting themselves in other people's positions in terms of feelings and needs.
- Words are not very important when it comes to the relationship between people and animals. The type of communication is the language of emotion, which is the language of children.
- Through their lives with animals, the children learn to deal with existential matters such as birth, the meaning of life, illness, age and death. Their perception of reality is improved.
- Animals can help children laugh and play and cause endorphins to be released in their brain.
- Emotional intelligence is encouraged through the children's relationship with animals: intuition, recognizing the feelings of another and reacting correctly (empathy).
It's still freezing cold in this part of the world and we've got continued frost and snow. I've been feeding the birds throughout this extremely cold spell, as a matter of fact I feed the birds throughout the year. I love their lovely twitter in the garden. But today when I saw a pigeon lying on top of an underground heat vent - desperately trying to keep warm - I just wanted to remind everyone to spare them a thought and to leave out a fat ball - it's the fat that they rely on to keep warm, but they also need the actual food, which is very difficult for them to find when the ground is covered by snow.
Also, I just came across a 10 day old article which estimated that a whopping 75-90% of small birds will die from hunger if the cold continues for more than 14 days. Well, that's 10 days ago, and right now the weather forecast shows nothing but snow and frost for the next 6 days... and probably beyond. So please, do remember the wild birds in this freezing cold.
Can you remember some of your first encounters with animals?
I remember a man living in the basement of our apartment block when I was about 4 or 5 years old. He was a sailor and had a parrot. One day my family was invited in to see his parrot. I simply couldn't believe it's colors and was in complete awe of it. Then I remember another day, about the same age, where my whole family was frantically running around because there was a mouse in the hallway. I think I couldn't figure why all these big people (my family) was running around like that because of a tiny little thing like the mouse.
And then there was Bambi... well, maybe it wasn't a real life encounter, but oh dear, the effect that ending had on me! Truly, I can still recall (with the whole accompanying physical sensation) the overwhelming feeling of grief, and I'm sure you recall how magnified feelings were at that tender age. Maybe it's a direct result of watching Bambi, but even today I can hardly think of anything more tender than a fawn.
Anyway... I have many more memories, but what strikes me is how much these encounters really stirred internal feelings... both sadness, awe, delight, apprehension, respect, joy and a magical sense of sweetness. And they are all intact. Today I wish that each child growing up may have these kinds of feelings instilled in them about dealing with all living things - especially over those things which we humans have dominion. What an important lesson to learn.
Well, as I wrote about a few weeks back, there's those amazing service dogs - like St. Bernards, which have an amazing sense of finding people trapped in avalances. Just like those service dogs helping out in Haiti this very moment, finding people trapped in the rubble after the earthquake. And talking of which... we've heard of how animals have this 6th sense and can feel the earthquake in advance and therefore escape. I've never seen any footage of this phenonema, but take a look at this link - here is a dog that knows for sure and is getting out in no uncertain terms.
Do they have a closer connection to the planet and can therefore feel the subtle frequency in advance? Whichever way... a "6th sense" indeed!
Words don't quite suffice in the light of the kind of tragedy that has just struck in Haiti. Therefore I'm borrowing this little picture story from respondinginfaith.wordpress.com. It's like a tiny ray of light when the tsunami struck the world in 2004.
A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa , officials said the hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms, was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.
It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a ‘mother’, ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP
After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized.
It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother.
Fortunately , it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond.
They swim, eat and sleep together, the ecologist added.
The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its mother.
If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive,
as if protecting its biological mother, Kahumbu added.
The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years,’ she explained.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
This is a real story that shows that our differences don’t matter much when we need the comfort of another. We could all learn a lesson from these two creatures of God, ‘Look beyond the differences and find a way to walk the path together.’
‘Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.’
There's something unusual that makes me really happy. It's when I see something lying in the middle of a road and as I get closer, I discover that it's JUST a piece of rubbish of some sort. Naturally I'm not a supporter of dumping any kind of rubbish in nature, but what a relief when what could have been an animal just turns out to be a piece of rubbish. Yes!!
Ah, yes, how does one think about eating meat in the light of the kind of thoughts I'm proposing??
Well, we live in a world with a meat-eating culture. This is a thought that has often 'harrassed' me. I genuinely find it such an odd seeming practise. Not just that humans kill and eat animals, but that animals kills and eat other animals. Haven't you ever had the thought "Why is this so?" This is also something I've explored in an earlier post. I wonder if there ever was a time when humans and animals lived in peace - side by side without hurting each other. Maybe it's a naive thought, but I believe this might once have been so. There's this really evocative quote from Theophilus from 150 AC:
"When man diverted from the path of goodness the animals followed him. If man now would rise to his original nature and would not do evil any longer, then the animals too would return to their original gentle nature."
I somehow wonder too, if this savage seeming behaviour is something that once originated when humans strayed from their "earthly brief" and forgot why they were sent here in the first place. Anyway, this is a matter that could end up as a thesis on good and evil!!
To come back to the fact that we do live in a meat-eating culture... Given that fact that this is so, do what you truly can to only buy meat from animals that has had a chance to live a decent life. Meat from cows that has had a chance to live a normal and happy life in field. Eggs and meat from chikens that haven't had to spend its life in a square metre with 50 other chickens. It's our choice whether we want to support an industry that gives animals miserable living circumstances even though, UNFORTUNATELY, the lessening way to treat animals is the cheapest.
And just to finish on some other evocative words...
"Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats, calves and lion cubs will feed together, and little children will take care of them. Cows and bears will eat together, and their calves and cubs will lie down in peace. Lions will eat straw as cattle do . . . The land will be as full of knowledge of the Lord as the seas are full of water." Isaiah 11:6-9
Hmm, I feel genuinely challenged in a good way from a comment left about yesterdays post.
It's not just a matter of being brought up to be good to animals but to have respect for every living thing. Sadly I've also seen and read horrible cases of kids abusing animals and I really believe it's got an awful lot to do with kids being "brainwashed" by computer games. By this I mean that they spend so much time playing computer games about killing and anhilating, that they litterly train their brain to believe that killing and anhilating doesn't have consequences. I mentioned this in a post from last year,where I also refer to a brillant article by brain scientist Dr. Joe Dispenza about this matter. It's truly scary.
Humans are born to feel a sense of empathy with other humans, nature and animals. If this basic human emotion is missing, I believe it's because it has been trained away. Just like a hunter learning to snuff the life out of an animal. He must surely have felt that he crossed a border when he did his first kill.
Anyway... to my most important point. In my journey of philosophical, religious and spiritual studies I've come across the understanding that humans are superior to both animals and plants because we have both a soul and a spirit. Animals and plants only have a soul. The spirit is what makes it possible for humans to think and connect outside the planet (i.e. to the universe, God or Gods and a greater Creator). As most people today have explored, either through religion or spirituality, God (or whatever you believe in) is meant to be the highest form of illumination or highest truth, and this is what we humans represent to animals in the shape of us having a spirit. It's our means by which to enhance their lives. It's the only means by which they can feel God.
And think about it this way... if there is a meeting with God of some kind at the end of this earthly exsistence, wouldn't it be unthinkable (horrific actually) if it turned out this God was cruel or anhilating at a whim? Through the human having a spirit, we become the "extention" of God to them. They can only feel God if we include them in our enhanced human lives. And needless to say, what must it be like for them if we exclude them, treat them cruelly, exploit them for our own means and just plainly don't give a damn?
This is the understanding my research has led me to and what I want to continue to explore through this blog.
You know, I meet many different stories of how people have been brought up thinking about animals or pets. As an example, my husband recalls from his childhood (in a very funny and endearing way) how his mother used to put on gloves to pet the neighbours dog.
I really do love spreading the word about a compassionate human/animal interaction, simply because I think these little gods children deserve to feel included in a greater consciousness of love, which only humans can provide for them. I therefore get disgressed if I visit a culture where children are not brought up to think and act lovingly towards animals. It so happened that my husband and I recently met an otherwise very decent lady from a culture where children are not brought up to think in a compassionate way about animals. It was clear that she got uncomfortable when I spoke about animals and she admitted that she hadn't always been kind to animals. Well, the easy way is to condemn, but if you're trying to show how to go on in a loving way, itsn't it much better to offer exampleship and let people forgive themselves for whatever pain they may once have inflicted? I believe this is possible by being responsible for your acts today, tomorrow and in the future by consciously deciding to not let acts of cruelty or hurt have access through your life. Certainly as adults the choice is ours!
In Rupert Sheldrake's book, that explores the unexplained powers of animals, there are lots of seemingly dry facts - at least for those of us who just knows about the inner lives of animals. The best bits in the book are the little snippets of case studies of humans with their pet or animal. Like this story of a woman communicating with her horse:
"Riding Kazan became somewhat nerve-racking, since I never knew when he was going to spook. Until, that is, I tried communicating with him telepathically. I first tried it when I wanted him to cross a white wooden bridge. He wouldn't even place a hoof on it the first few times I tried, so the next time I came out to ride, I held in my mind a sharp and clear picture of him walking calmly across the bridge with me on his back. It worked! We approached the bridge, stepped on to it, and crossed it without a moment's hesitation or misstep. Hooray! I was so impressed by the success of my experiment, that I started using telepathy in my daily horse routines. When I want Kazan to step into a horse trailer, I picture it happening and in he goes". (Lisa Chambers, Chico, California).
For those of us who live in a part of the world where we can't just jump into the waters and enjoy the graceful movements of the stingray (or other fish)... lean back en enjoy a breather with this truly calming video. The music is fantastis too!Remember sound and full screen!
"Anyone who says that life matters less to animals than it does to us has not held in his hands an animals fighting for its life. The whole of the being of the animal is thrown into that fight, without reserve."
Quote by Elizabeth Costello in "The Lives of Animals" by J.M. Coetzee
About the picture above:
"It is one of the great spectacles of the natural world and the largest mass movement of land animals on the planet. This extraordinary picture, taken by award-winning wildlife photographer Steve Bloom, shows just a fraction of the 1.5 million majestic wildebeest which cross the Mara River in Kenya every year. They are joined on this incredible journey by 500,000 gazelle and 200,000 zebra.
This is a path fraught with dangers. The waters of the Mara River are teeming with hungry crocodiles and the strong currents can claim as many as 3,000 wildebeests each year. Add to this the lions, hyenas, leopards and jackals lying in wait on dry land, and the jostling mass of herbivores seems like a banquet in waiting. They are particularly vulnerable at night, when individual stragglers can be picked out, and the younger and weaker members of the herd are easily dragged down. Overall, about 250,000 wildebeest die during each trip." (Extract from dailymail.co.uk article).
Imagine if humans were able to live life this unreservedly!!
When I was little I dreamt of getting a white cat. I thougt they were so beautiful. Little did I know then, but there's a very curious fact about white cats:
A large percentage (65 to 85%) of all-white cats with two blue eyes are deaf. 17 to 22% of white cats with non-blue eyes are born deaf, and the percentage rises to 40% if the cat has one blue eye. If a white cat with only one blue eye is deaf in one ear, it’s very likely to be deaf in the ear on the same side as the blue eye!!
If your cat is deaf in only one ear, you may never notice a difference.
Apparently many cats adapt to deafness well, but naturally needs to be protected from outdoor dangers such as cars and other animals.
Facts from blisstree.com
P.S. No, I never got a white cat, but my mum once came home with a black and white kitten when I was 10 years old, and I loved that cat to bits. Today they could be any color... I've been smitten ever since that childhood moment!
I so believe that it is our human task to enhance the life of those beautiful and magnificent creatures we share this planet with, that it's been such a delight to write this blog. I'm celebrating this with a new years gift to myself - or this blog rather - in the shape of these fabulous mini moo cards. Yes, moo, it almost couldn't be more fitting! - but that's what they are called, and I love them. What a great way to spread the word by giving it to friends or leave them in random places. Who knows, if it reaches just a few, brilliant! If you want to spread the word about what's in your heart, mind and soul go visit moo, they're great.
Don't you like to still ask childish questions like "how on earth did that blue color get into those butterfly wings?"... or "how did it get that pattern?" And I'm not seeking those dry cut scientific answers. And what's up with the incredible metamorphosis? I mean, it goes from the physical state of a catapillar, it then 'melts' into the liquid state of the chrysalis and reappears into a more spectaclular physical state. When you see that alien looking proces of the green larvae turning into a brownish chrysalis, you have to wonder where in that proces the new form, color and pattern got popped in. Magic!!
As you could read in yesterdays post, humans are not always loyal to their pets. Whilst some might abandon their pets out of real sincere desperation (which I choose to believe yesterdays post is about) others might abandon them just because it's convenient. Animals though seem to have an absolutely outstanding loyalty to their owners... as this story so movingly demonstrates.
"Hachiko was brought to Tokyo in 1924 by his owner, a college professor named Hidesamuro Ueno. Each day, when Ueno left for work, Hachiko would stand by the door to watch him go. When the professor came home at 4 o’clock, Hachiko would go to the Shibuya Station to meet him.
Though this simple act alone shows a tremendous amount of loyalty, that’s not the end of it: The following year, Ueno died of a stroke while at the university. Hachiko didn’t realize that he was gone, and so the dog returned to the train station every single day to await his master. He became such a familiar presence there, in fact, that the station master set out food for the dog and gave him a bed in the station. Even so, Hachiko never shifted loyalties –every day at 4 o’clock, he hopefully waited by the tracks as the train pulled in, searching for his best friend’s face among the people getting off.
Hachiko died in 1935, after 10 long years of waiting for his master. But the dog would not be forgotten – a year before his death, Shibuya Station installed a bronze statue of the aging dog, to honor its mascot. Though the statue was melted down during World War II, a new version was created in 1948 by the son of the original artist. Go to the station now, and you’ll be able to see the bronze statue of Hachiko – still waiting, as ever, for his master to come home."
A while back I saw a news item about people in England abandoning their animals, because they couldn't afford feeding them due to the financial crisis. I have to admit that I felt angry... I mean, you don't just abandon your children, do you?? But sadly this has become more of a global 'trend' and today I discovered that it's just as much of a problem in America, and I believe you've got to be painfully desperate to abadon your pet.
But... in times of hardship compassion appears - and don't you just LOVE that? I do!! I really love when humans go out of their way to help animals (and other humans too!) and I especially love the fact of how little it actually takes to make a big difference sometimes. Even if that big difference might seem small. A woman called Kelee Katillac came up with a brilliant idea about how to raise money for pet food for those suffering the effects of the financial crisis. You might get a bit misty eyed watching it (I did), but here it is.
I'm sure there are things in this world you wish could be different, but in the face of it you feel powerless. Cruelty to animals is one of those things for me. I don't like to see or read stories about such things, but sometimes I choose to, because I want to try and understand what's going on in a world where humans will allow cruelty exist. Over the years I have created my own little prayers and thoughts, which I have tried to transmit out into the world against such things. I have no tangible proof of their effect, but I have witnessed many curious things which have seemed like more than just a mere coincidence.
Maybe you are familiar with Dr. Emoto's book and concept "Messages from Water". He makes experiements with water and has shown many extraordinary pictures of water crystals before and after being exposed to either words or prayers. Have you ever seen them? They are quite eerie. As an example, water exposed to foul words looks disturbing and water exposed to prayers looks exquisite. I encourage you to read Dr. Emoto's story about his belief in "The power of prayers".
Or maybe you have read Lynne McTaggarts "The Intention Experiment" - about mind over matter and scientific evidence about human intention. Mind boggling reading about how we humans effect our surroundings with our 'mere thoughts'!
Some years ago I got introduced to making an stand against cruelty in the world and to think of a certain color at the same time. Therefore, to remind myself, I've chosen to use a 'golden orange' for my blog titles. Each time you see a new post and see this 'golden orange' you're invited to help transmit the thougth "to stand against cruelty". Yes, there are many kinds of cruelty in this world, but I use the intention specifically against cruelty to animals.
If you are sincere and it truly matters to you, I believe with each single fiber of my being that it makes a difference.