I ventured down further into the Valley of the Saints. The great escarpment was massive, giving one the sense that only God could have crafted this area of natural protection for the most holy. Every way there were alcoves, recesses, overhangs, niches, caves, and all manner of crannies. You could hide an army in here. The valley is a deep gorge carved by the Kadisha River, also known as the Nahr Abu Ali when it eventually enjoins Tripoli. This was not my direction anymore though, for I had reached my source. I took a long winding road down to the hermitage of Saint Elisha where I saw it nestled comfortably in the side of the huge precipice. An old VW with the roof torn off offered a lift to the bottom. As we rolled down we stopped to forage for few pears. I promptly jumped out to discover the old route across the river and back up again. Along this route the Stations of the Cross were immortalised in stone plaques. It was enough for me to go to the bottom and back up again. Since the earliest years of Christianity there have been both coenobitic and eremitic monks here, for this reason many hermitages and monasteries are protected as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It included Muslim mystics, or Sufis, but in the main early Christian communities fleeing persecution after the time of the Crusades with the spread of Islam. Among these groups were the Jacobites (Syrian Orthodox), Melchites (Greek Orthodox), Nestorians, Armenians, and even Ethiopians. The Maronites, however, are the dominant Christian group in the valley who fled into the valley from the 7th century onwards from the Levante. Following the destruction of the Monastery of St Maron the Maronite monks established their new center at Qannoubine, and monasteries quickly spread over the surrounding hills. The Mameluk sultans, in particular Baibars and Qalaoun, led campaigns in 1268 and 1283 respectively, and drove many a saint in this direction; the Deir Qannubin monastery would become the new seat of the Maronite Patriarch. Saint Elisha was himself considered to originate from Syrian persecution eventually settling down here in the 14th century and founding his important hermitage. Having satiated myself at the splendour of this building nestled as it was at the foot of a great precipice with a limited number of cells I continued back towards Bsharri to the top of the valley when a couple of children asked me to play guitar. Not before long I was surrounded by young attractive virgins as the whole family came out to listen, whilst I gave them guitar lessons in exchange for more food than I could fit into my stomach. This included raw beef dipped in salt. That night I would meet the mayor also at a restaurant at the top of the Cedars. From there at a huge cross mounted on a tor I could see Bsharri spread out beneath me. I played some music and impressed a few people. I always seem to meet the right people and I am never short of a meal.
The days lingered on as I sought the funds to get the flight back. The opportunity of playing a couple of gigs was aired and Simon would look out to see if there was any work available. In the meantime I enjoyed the free rally race as the hotels and restaurants suddenly filled out overnight. Later I would take to the local caves and managed to get a few photos. A tiny place in comparison to Jeita but some of the close ups show the stalactites in detail. I spied a waterfall and took a freezing cold shower. It perked me up since now I wasn’t riding and my calves were suffering from cramp. No doubt these are the ongoing symptoms from the dysentery and diarrhoea I experienced with a natural dehydration. I am aware I have been monitored here and now my visa has run out I wonder how the authorities will treat me. As I wait for the much needed funds it may be that I will pass August here. I continue to get fed by the local cafeteria but I am not really contributing that much. I really need to work again. I had an advantage up here with internet access and sought to find a more permanent spot to hang my hammock in. I checked out the area behind the cafeteria and it turned out to be a derelict recreational spot of a bygone era. Spending maybe an hour in the dark looking for a couple of good hitching points I eventually concluded that the space wasn’t appropriate and decided to spend one last night on the roadside seating area. An obvious thing was becoming apparent to me; I enquired why the rubbish does not get picked up instead of accumulating in huge piles for wild animals to rummage through? The following morning I got up very early, took a stroll around the Cedars again and headed down with the bicycle for one last descent. The machine was heading for retirement and so I would roll into Simon, Dee and Joey’s lovely family house. Joey liked my music and I think is the more compassionate of the two. He was also the gardener here whilst Simon was more the farmer. There was talk about helping him spray the apples, and it is one of those ethical issues. Do you take the work for a few lira and spread loads of chemicals around the environment, or does one take for granted their hospitality and reside in the spare room? I need to contribute otherwise I start feeling guilty and make irrational decisions, and the best I can do is get over my expertise in food production using bio-friendly methods. During discussions with Dee, Simon’s wife, it was apparent that good food is appreciated, more so local food. Their mother Sarah was a chef extraordinaire as I sample stuffed goat intestines and other traditional recipes. In general organics are like bicycles, they haven’t been invented here yet, not in the whole of Lebanon. To go organic is a big commitment, and besides, spray drift from neighbouring farms will probably nullify any official status. I think people should start in their back garden before one can make broad-scale decisions, so we talked about building a compost bin first using scrap wood. In the meantime I fancied myself as their gardener even though everyone chips in.
There is a question that remains rooted in the back of my mind. Do I stay and look for a potential wife or will I end up like some hermit playing music for food? I have a month to think about it, or so I thought. I am not homesick, the place feels like home. I haven’t spent any money here other than that which Simon stuffed into my pockets. I could easily volunteer my duties in the valley and I am sure there will always be a free meal somewhere, that has been the pattern of things. I ventured for the long hike down the valley bottom, passing the multitude of Virgin Mary shrines along the way. It had rained recently, the cloud creeps up into the whole valley like a dragon’s breadth, but everything dries out quickly. I was accosted by a sleepy policeman but I soon told him the law of the land. Who can deny a pilgrim here? He had no problem with that retort and I soon found a lovely spot hidden in the woods near a spring. Along the route the uncollected rubbish was accumulating here too. The near-full moon gave ample light and I noticed that this area is devoid of mosquitoes and flies. How odd? It is also devoid of those “Devil beetles” which chirp all night using their wings.
The following morning I was on my way spying a possible bathing area in the river and various wild fruits; the figs were still a month away from ripening and the walnuts even moreso. As I approached the Monastery of Qannoubine I was welcomed by music and greetings given over on loud speakers, in Arabic, French and English. This monastery was founded, it is believed, in 375AD and known as the oldest of its kind in the whole of Lebanon. It was also the first to espouse coenobitic life. It became the patriarchate between the 16th and 19th centuries for the whole Maronite order. As a pilgrimage site it allows people to enjoin in meditation and prayer, whilst one can wander throughout the scattered shrines and churches. I helped myself in the kitchen to water and coffee, admiring the fantastic view of the opposite cliff and the worked fields terraced as they are in every possible direction. Visitors consistently came and went but having established this monastery as a place I want to come back to I then headed up the narrow path to that other hermitage, Hawqa, which dates to back to the 1280’s . In the meanwhile I abandoned my guitar and belongings on the side of the road. It was an incredible act to do for it contained my wallet and passport, but I had complete confidence it would be there when I returned. The scenery became more spectacular as the path narrowed further along rocky edges. Eventually, passing through cooling pine forests I came across a most lovely building hidden in the rock. Even more lovely was the solitary hermit monk Darios from Columbia, full of life and entertaining a bunch of young Lebanese. He obviously does this a lot. He loves women and performs for them keeping everyone jovial. In his own time I don’t doubt that he resides in deep contemplation. His perfect landing grows enough food for him all-year round, and he told me that the rubbish he gets donated to him he gives to the foxes. Being here for 12 years and living a ‘solitary’ existence I thought he had the best house in town and considered living here myself; just a thought. Already though I was in that state of mind where if one is happy why should they want to go anywhere else. The whole area attests to continuing miracles of healing and has such a sanctity about it that I could not imagine finding anything like it in the religious world anywhere else. I was told that Darios himself experienced one of these miracles in which, whilst building steps along the rocky path he fell forward in the direction of a cliff edge but then felt his body lifted up, which he says was the appearance of the Virgin Mary. This IS the end of my journey and I would have to find a wife or become a hermit of sorts. If I spent 5 months in Spain over winter, I could come here in Spring in early April, help out with the food growing until end of August, living in the coolness of the valley, leave back for Spain in September, and then head for London to check over my old gardens, the flat and of course the apple growing season of festivities. A short break occasionally will suffice to visit other friends. Meanwhile, I would look to set up a botanical institute and set a precedent for organic husbandry here; nature has her ways. The first of August and the signs are good, I played the cafeterias and made myself 34,000LL, about $22, a day’s wages, and all the free food I could get; sounds quite Idyllic. There was this element of sarcasm at one place, people thrusting mobile phones in my face, but Fadi was such a lovely host. This man was surrounded by his children and I counted them from 8 to 15 years up, nearly one for every year. I thought that alone was an incredible act of fertility; it must be the water. They particularly liked my song called ‘Mother’.
Shall we just take a moment out and consider whence we came
We lied in darkness until fate took us by surprise
I did not know myself I was all unconsciousness
Purple black walls grew around my inert disposition
I pushed for the light not knowing forward from backward
My muted voice burbled in the mire
Give me my space I am finding my way
Deliver me my vision to foresee a global day
Mother, why hath you broken
Left me in this flood
Brought me into the air
Screaming for my mind
Mother, I could not know
That you were once my world
When before we were together
We are now distinctly unique
You’ve let me go, to go alone
To find a place amongst the stones
I’ve seen the light shine from within
Without it carries from a distant sun
The land stretches out before me, every dip and hollow a story
I made myself into the image of her body
Her mountains gave me pass, her deserts induced my thirst
The rivers cleansed my feet of all their glory
But persevere I would towards the bosom of creation
From there I suckled eternal waters
I grew upon her breast, made an empire for her praise
Because I never let go of Mama’s luminous mantle
After staying another night I met up with Simon again at his gaff and sought to do some work. Car On the way up I had noticed the breakers yard, now defunct, littering the side of the gorge. There was an unfinished building full of tyres and behind it a load of wrecks that look like they were just about to fall off the edge, this at the entrance to the valley where all the tourists go by. I knew of the illegal building that has gone on here; bear in mind that it was not that long ago that the civil war ended and one could hardly police a fragmented country under such conditions. It was obvious to see by the old cars that run around with missing body parts; the sense of anarchy is very prevalent. But there was also a dirty attitude to nature prevalent because the crap people leave behind at the river’s side is a testament to the licentiousness of the youth in general, and they would be Christians at birth. I was obviously in that mode where I had a keen eye for recycling. Me and Dee talked about materials needed for the compost bin and there seemed to be some real enthusiasm here. As the day progressed though it was apparent that whatever I did was a temporary situation. No-one else agreed with it and I was simply told that no-one will use it. I would later find out that they don’t live here all year round, only Sarah, and she won’t take any notice of it. I tried to contribute more in the garden to make myself useful. But as I pondered the scenario I thought about the Green Gathering Festival in Britain that is such a hit and which provided much the same experience as here in terms of ecological and spiritual motives. At the end of the day it is all about experiences. Pity really, because I felt my services were not being used and I espied a girl I was beginning to like. After another night there Joey had a brief talk with me and told me to move on; it seemed I was already causing dissension of one sort or another, but he was very polite about it and made me sandwiches for the return trip to the valley. I left late and passed by Fadi’s restaurant. We had a cracking night but I was feeling the pinch of their demands. The food was fantastic and I tried a glass or two of arak, the equivalent of raki. They distil it themselves here with DIY equipment. Fadi welcomed me back the following morning for coffee and it was apparent that they were gearing up for a session that evening. Unfortunately I had other priorities, so even though I hung about the whole day editing my book there were these ongoing distractions. Finally the evening came and I refused to drink any spirits. I got the impression that I was supposed to be taken aback by the young chick who was showing an interest in me, but as it goes I shaved my beard down the middle and it made me look quite ugly, like a monkey actually. I would not be pampered despite the good food again. The debauchery was apparent for all to see. The same people stupidly ask me for other people’s songs, they condescend to insult other religions, they talked about sex and made insinuating actions concerning women’s bodily parts. I listened to all of it and told them that there is not a single person in this world who stands between me and God. They just didn’t get it, I am religious and these people think I am object for mockery. The main problem was the Fool who was brought in to wind things up; the names are irrelevant. I got up to leave and they tried to throw money in my face to get me to play; video phones at the ready. Enough was enough, I offered to pay for the food but Fadi refused and I left knowing that I had maintained my integrity and denied them their daft game. As always, the day was incredibly productive for me and I slept well. The following day I was due to play at another restaurant but already I detected undertones; news travels quickly in these backwoods. I decided to give it a miss and stayed the whole day at the Qannoubine Monastery editing my book. I will self-publish this book and distribute it myself. I believe it will abstractly influence the future of natural history and world politics whilst the book unfolding before your very eyes will be the existential equivalent of it.
I learnt a little more about this monastery. Firstly, there are a lot more hermitages than I first purported, since many a monk would leave the monastery and find a solitary niche somewhere. Historians have noted a “cloud of incense ascended from the Valley.” At 16km long it is obvious how its ‘inaccessible’ paths were a defence against invading armies; this place arrogates solitariness. In fact a couple of Antonine Sisters, asked to come here in 1990 by the absent Patriarch to encourage missionary work during the high season, told me that the word ‘coenobitic’ means “communal life.” The word ‘Qannoubine’ is the Syriac inscription of the Greek term “koinobion” (koinos + bios) and illustrates the meaning of the word. The fresco of the Our Lady in the ancient church was ordered by the Patriarch Stephan Douayhi and represents the coronation of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Trinity. It bears a verse in Syriac from the Canticle of Canticles, “Come from Lebanon, my fiancée, and you shall be crowned.” The event is an alternative Maronite version of the Assumption. The ancient church here dates back to the 1st century and the original building has been left in its fragile condition without restoration to maintain its authenticity. It is a dark area now built over by other religious offices over the course of succeeding centuries. The monastery was thought to have been commissioned by the Emperor Theodos the Great in 375AD. The Sisters tell me that UNESCO are now providing a plan to rejuvenate the whole valley considered to be a complete heritage site. The idea is of restoring communal life as it was during the Patriarchal years, which ceased towards the end of the 19th century when for one hundred years the monastery remained vacant, so the intention now is to reintroduce local schools and broad-scale agriculture. It opened my eyes to future possibilities and with the expertise I have in plants and food production they welcomed the idea. This is my wilderness that I seek, represented as I know by the Virgin Mary since time immemorial. I looked over the veranda with them and wondered of the snow when it comes in December. It must be a site to relish as the cliffs tower above us. Even during winter the Sisters wear boots 75cm long and trundle along the snow-clad paths. There are some here though, who don’t move from their spot.
That night I slept at the cafeteria, even though the sisters offered me the hermit’s cave. They gave me welcome food for my way and I promised to be in touch again, since now the convent is closed for two days to the public. There were Muslims about getting through Ramadan. After playing to them they allowed me to sleep on the couch, but in the morning there were one or two particular guys who told me they didn’t like my beard. They were getting shirty with me, so I left and headed for the Crypt of Saint Marina. On the way I had already spied some ripe figs and grapes and this sufficed for breakfast. Within half an hour the military were there questioning me. As usual they were friendly, but I wonder, everywhere I go I always expose people’s inner sentiments, that is my power, but unfortunately it is to other people’s weaknesses. I would leave and pay one final trip to Darios, since now I was looking forward to the flight I booked for this Wednesday, the 8th, exactly 5 months from leaving Barcelona. I came to Darios’ hermitage but avoided it on the way up the mountain. First I would go to the top of the cliffs and check out the town of Haqka. It turned out to be no more than a loose collection of people’s homes and a single store. I settled down and played my guitar, and as usual I got away without paying for the food. The young girl whose name was Lina came turned out to have a lot in common with me. She was a Masters student in philosophy and also an author. We got on like a house on fire and it gave me inspiration to get my own book published. She knew very well the nature of humanity and it vindicated my own position regarding the mixing of politics and religion. She highlighted the point that people’s attitudes change almost instantly with geographical regions. That seemed to be the issue in this country; people only felt safe in groups or collectives. Even the Kadisha Valley was nominally Christian now. I decided to head back and look over Darios again; this time he was in deep contemplation and I decided that it was no place to be getting out laptops. So I headed back to the crypt, done some more writing and took an early night pondering the skies. I checked over the hammock to see if anybody had been there and I found a stick placed on my pillow, near the message I left indicating the spiritual nature of my vocation. If that wasn’t enough the other side were the lyrics to my song ‘Indigenous Man’, one I rarely play. I mused over the situation. Could it have been the military, the restaurant crew, or even a passerby? I think the latter since the stick signified respect as if to indicate polite entry. In fact, monkeys play with sticks like they do with dolls. I think this was a fellow pilgrim, maybe the few I bumped into at the crypt and who befriended me about my journey. I slept well enough and had a lazy morning packing up my gear. I dropped off the blanket at Fadi’s and went up to the hermitage; there were no monks there. I wondered what the Sisters were talking about when they said that the monks may be interested in using your seeds. I talked to the small young shop assistant by the name of Miriam and she mentioned the new monastery on top of the cliff. She turned out to be very interested in me and gave me food, whilst I exchanged a small piece of ceramics with her. I took to the steep incline up to the top and as it turned out was quite easy. I seemed to have re-gathered my strength. When I look back over the journey most of the climbs were easy; I was that fit and only this dysentery weakened me. Entering the new monastery I quickly established contact, got a load of free food and met the head gardener. The situation improved as I was shown possible planting areas, and since the whole site was earmarked for re-development I thought that my expertise would go a long way. I looked at the miserable crop of olives and decided that trees in the region needed pruning. The monocultural approach to fruit trees could do with an underplanting of mixed crops, including herbs. The planting of beneficial flowers would attract beneficial insects that predate on the insects, negating the use of chemical insecticides. There was also undeveloped land that could easily garden the first botanical institute in Lebanon. I decided the signs were good and vowed to comeback the following morning to give them the last packet of seeds from Barcelona, with the hope that over the winter period when things remain dormant we could set up the network and get the support of Spain, France and Italy for the expertise and financial backing that such a project necessitated, including the EU and UNESCO. Since the mountains here had 15metres of snow this year, that were still melting and feeding the rivers, even Joey said that a botanical greenhouse would be required to withstand the conditions, but I know from my travels in Slovenia that there are enough plants that can grow in high altitudes too. I felt that with one last visit to hand over the seeds my journey would come to a welcome end, almost perfect. As I sprinted back to Simon’s and Joey’s, getting some more food (even though I thought I had kindly refused it), even the look of the housemaid gave me the impression that I could not possibly stay here on this final night; so I headed back towards the monastery after collecting the seeds and passed by the house full of youngsters with whom I played guitar and gave lessons to. I stayed there all night, fed and satiated it seemed that the touch of a virgin was too much for me to maintain; I had another natural emission. It was perfect night though, playing some lovely tunes and using this projected energy to specific effect. For a fuller understanding of this phenomenon one would need to read my other book The Virgin to understand the religious nature of it. The following day I went to the monastery, made the necessary exchanges and spoke at length with a passing clergy, his name was Friar Tony. We talked about sexual nature and one of the comments that stuck out the most was this idea of meeting a sexual partner. He told me that such an encounter should reflect the nature of God and it is through this partner that one must uncover this relationship. In my own studies I understood this as a projection from within the holy. It seems I truly do have a profound interpretation of the holy and the nature of God. My other book should become interesting reading for the Church. I remember sitting there listening to mass. The service sounded like a drone and does not compare to the melodic singing of Lebanese Islamic liturgy. These were the beautiful thoughts I would be taking back with me. I fact, the religious sanctuaries seem to be the places of quiet solitude where politics and economics are forgotten. Quite frankly though, I attracted many a Muslim not for my beard (now overgrown and shaven down the middle to form two sides) but by my natural religiosity. I saw this as the fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam, the extent that social affairs are integrated within religious institutions, and by default the religiosity of the latter infuses all lifestyles other than in those Islamic countries where secularism is rife. The Muslim will pray at roadside service stations, in the street, even airports where a mescid is made available. For the Christian there is a time and a place, but for one whose whole journey was a prayer, a pilgrimage or hajj, a peregrination, I exude that religiosity continuously, that is what the religious identify in me. The adventure alone was attraction enough for everybody to show an interest especially in those countries where secular freedom has only just been won. Most people in Lebanon find it extremely difficult to leave the country and I represented something they could aspire to.
I left that morning, missing the first bus but with ample time to make the second. On arriving in Beirut to get my flight I was reminded of the stifling heat, the crap roads, the pollution, the hustling people, the noisy traffic, the rude stares and so on. I needed to ring Wassim but it turned out that he couldn’t find me. The taxi driver whose phone I used wanted $3, then 3,000 Lira for use of his phone, but he took the call and ended up arguing with Wassim. I refused to pay until Wassim turned up (he didn’t) and the taxi driver slinked away in defeat. I found a van taxi (much cheaper than the cars), went to the airport for 4,000 Lira and relieved a sigh at its multiculturalism; I had come to hate Beirut. The flight took me to Doha first in Qatar (Arabia) a whole 1,100km from here before I had to change and get a night flight to Barcelona. This airline had won best flight company of the year for the last two years. It was easy to see why. Each seat had their own television with a choice of top quality programs and films to watch; they were all adjustable screens with headphones. My assimilation back into the West was very quick. I ensured watching two films, The Avengers and The Wrath of the Titans (How else was I to reinstitute the Western mythological mindset?) and the food was lovely when I could even ask for more if I wanted to. They gave out packets of ear plugs and eye shields, sleeping socks and a toothbrush kit. The hostesses would offer water at intervals and in general the seating areas were large enough to sleep in; definitely one for the future if I have to make this journey again. The stifling heat of Doha (36oC) contrasted sharply with Barcelona in the fresh morning. I was feeling really happy and looked forward to my caravan. I considered going by the botanical gardens before heading home but I had too much kit. I had brought with me the bike wheels which cost £200, the front panniers, a few clothes, and a few other bits; the bike frame I left at Simon’s and knew it was there waiting for another set of wheels if ever I return. The whole lot weighed about 23kilos, the limit on economy class. On arriving home I knew I would shave my beard; I was alive and safe and my religious vocation was over. I came into my parent’s home and my mother walked straight pass me to the caravan doing what she does best, cleaning and controlling the small economy of home. Unfortunately she is obsessed with this last point. And of course, she doesn’t have to worry anymore about me. My dad was looking healthier, putting on weight, and the land looked remarkably clean; he had strimmed the wild grasses down. The pets were shaven obviously for the summer, the trees look semi-productive, the burnt area at the back of the land for which I started this journey with a forest fire didn’t look that bad after all. I felt I had a clean slate to start with and already I knew which walls I would remove, what trees need special care and which areas of the land want opening up. I looked at the site where my house will be built and imagined the cisterna first. My first morning was marred with a renewed outbreak of dysentery and I wonder if that is me just cleaning out the system from infected food I received from my hosts. It would take two days at least to get rid of an infectious bug but one should remember that going down at such a time and moment (5 months after departing Barcelona) was God’s call. Nothing else was going to slow me down, and as soon as I get full health levels back I seem to go on forever in my motivations. Already I am jogging in response to a lack of a bicycle and I have started swimming in the sea rather than just paddling around as the too-warm environment in Lebanon and southern Europe seem to confer upon one. And there is one other point I remember raising when I was passing through Italy, that when I am ill females tend to find me more attractive. That tells me one thing only, that my integrity is vindicated by my closeness to God. Mother Mary is there for the suffering, and any virgins who make themselves available to me do so under these trying conditions. It raises an interesting theological point, that Jesus was born out of suffering; the Mother groans at her disputatious people. She provides the sanctuary for their peace and sanctity. Every prophet comes in her name, whether it is Miriam, Mary or Maria. Did Jesus have his opportunity to avoid the journey into the wild? Could he have taken a virgin and prevented the suffering that ultimately formed the basis of Christian theology? The Christian Maronites would tell me that Mohammad took his teaching from a Christian priest; some say that Islam is not a religion. I could hardly listen to such comments. Joey had told me that there were something like ten big families in Lebanon and the ‘Tokes’ were but one of them, maybe the third biggest. Even recently there had been the occasional shootings and deaths between their geographical boundaries. But if they would listen to me I would tell them that civil war is imminent. Roll back the years to the 1990’s and maybe you will see the reality of the mindset that is still prevalent in these peoples; Syria in the north and Israel in the south is a reality waiting to happen. A serious war would bring these two nations together. Maybe if these Christians would not preoccupy themselves with skirmishes and territorialism so much they may remember something of the higher purpose of Christianity, not unlike Islam nor Judaism actually; to prepare one for their ultimate union with God and this is achievable both in the wilderness of this world and the after-world. I was asked once where I thought I would go if I died, and I replied ‘to a single consciousness’. For me heaven was the experience of now, on this planet.
I would like to thank all those who gave my journey the impetus, the God-given help, who made it joyful and who maintained my health through their alms and offerings. For the wonderful gifts I received throughout, and the continuing motivation to go back and see more of your countries, you are welcome to join me here in Spain. As for my intentions and for more on my family life you would need to read the other book I finished on this journey. In the meanwhile I am looking for a publisher, even an historian who will collaborate with me. A final overview can wait until then.