LEARNING FROM NATURE’S RESILIENCE 5: NATIVE SURVIVORS

For the fifth of our workshop series on Learning from Nature’s Resilience, we focused on native trees.  After supertyphoon Odette claimed so many of the sacntuary’s mature trees, an assessment was made of the surviving tree species and our suspicion was proven right that those that survived were mostly native trees.  We reached out to the Visayas Native Trees (VNT) Enthusiasts group to help us with properly identifying and learning more about the propagation of these species. So we arranged a special workshop day with the group on Saturday, May 28th.

Welcome and Intro by Eddy Lee, conservation educator and ecotherapist

Warm up activity was laughter yoga led by Joel Lee, Permaculture and Aprotech Solutions educator. 

Then the VNT group went around the nature sanctuary to identify and tag the native trees that survived Odette. VNT members Gala, Tin-Tin, Nonoy, Tess, Sarah, Lito, Bretha and JC examined the leaves of the native trees closely then shared their knowledge of these trees. Gala was the official scribe -writing both local and scientific names of the species on the tags.

When the group had had their lunch, we proceeded with the next part of our workshop which was the expressive arts portion which was led by Paulina Constancia.
The task was: Make your native survivor self-portrait using a leaf or seed from the native tree that you best identify with.

Paulina Constancia during the workshop demo

Each of the participants went around the sanctuary again to source materials for their self-portraits.

VNT enthusiasts and friends with facilitators Paulina Constancia and Eddy Lee (Roundhouse of the J Lee Nature Sanctuary) with the beautiful native survivor self-portraits
Tour of the MONA – VNT enthusiasts and friends

What a wonderful day of sharing love for native trees, art and laughter! So grateful for our learning adventure together, VNT!!!

The Floral Bouquet Self-Portraits

Today we share with you more detail on the expressive arts session on Sunday which was the making of The Floral Bouquet Self-Portraits.
Click here to learn more about this workshop from previous post

Below is the step by step process in pictures…

Below are the individual portraits of our teenage participants:

Very creative use of the fruit stamps and stencils to make these awesome portraits, young ladies! Thank you for sharing your insights and reflections too. We wish you all the best in your learning and development. Till the next time!

LEARNING FROM NATURE’S RESILIENCE 4: FLOWERS & FRUITS

Yesterday, my siblings and I co-taught  part 4 of our Learning from Nature’s Resilience workshop series. This time we took inspiration from the surviving trees and other flowering plants that have recovered and started to bloom, and some are even bearing fruit again!!!

Our participants were homeschooled teenage survivors of difficult situations traveling all the way from Northern Cebu.

My brother Joel Lee, Permaculture and Aprotech Solutions educator, facilitated the warm up laughter yoga and encouraged its regular practice as a way to health and relaxation. 

My sister Eddy Lee, a conservation educator and ecotherapist,  led the tour of the sanctuary’s food forest, higlighting the effect of Typhoon Odette on the fruit trees that were bent, and broken and uprooted. They noticed how the trees are starting to recover because the leaves have sprouted back.  Some of the surviving trees, including a few mango trees, are even flowering. The meditation and vegetable gardens have also recovered and are blooming.

Here are the tools for the expressive arts session: Floral Bouquet Self-Portraits

Before starting the expressive arts segment of our Learning from Nature’s Resilience workshop I distributed the flower quotes below for the participants to discuss within their groups:

“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.” -John Harrigan
Flowers grow back even after they are stepped on, so will I!” – Author Unknown
“Nothing in nature blooms all year. Be patient with yourself!”
“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin

Paulina Constancia demonstrates how to make the Floral Bouquet Self-Portraits using fruit stamps
(slices of the following fruit were provided: okra, cucumber, eggplant and balimbing aka starfruit or carambola)

The instruction for the expressive art session was :
Your life is God’s gift to you and what you make of it is like a bouquet of flowers that you give back to God, the earth and humanity.  What kind of blossoms will you bear?
 As you create your floral bouquet portrait focus on your pesonal resilient trait and be ready to share this with the group.

How to Make Your Floral Bouquet Self-Portrait

  1. Use fruit slices provided: (okra, cucumber, eggplant and balimbing aka starfruit, carambola,) and watercolor to make prints on paper of flowers.
  2. Practice with your stamps and layout on scrap paper provided before doing your final layout on the artboard provided
  3. Allow work to dry completely before adding design details with ballpen and pencil crayons. Feel free to do freehand drawing or use some of the stencils available to add details to your work.
  4. Prepare to share your work and personal resilient trait with the group.
Floral Bouquet Self-Portraits in the making
Quick sample floral portrait made by Paulina Constancia
Tools used: carambola (balimbing), cucumber (pepino), bird stencil, water-colour, brush, ballpen

MONA -Museum visit

Our teenage participants gather at the meditation garden at the Justice German Lee Nature Sanctuary

Thank you for joining us for a fun learning adventure at the Sanctuary. We hope you will apply the things you learned here today – Care for the earth, care for each other, care for the future and care to laugh, lots! And believe that you are resilient, you have the capacity to bounce back from the adversities life may throw your direction.

The ME TREE Self Portraits

Today we share with you more detail on the expressive arts session on Saturday which was the making of the Me Tree Self-Portraits.
Click here to learn more about this workshop from previous post

Here you will find the individual creations of our teenage workshop participants from the St Alfonso Maria Fusco Home, Compostela.

The portraits with their corresponding hand carved camote stamps

Awesome camote carving and leaf pattern prints, young men! Thank you for sharing your insights and reflections too. We wish you all the best in your learning and development. Care for the earth, care for each other, care for the future and care to laugh, lots!

LEARNING FROM NATURE’S RESILIENCE 3: TREES

On Saturday, my siblings and I co-taught  part 3 of our Learning from Nature’s Resilience workshop series. This time we took inspiration from the surviving trees and the regrowth of their leaves and worked with a group of teenage scholars from the St Alfonso Maria Fusco Home, Compostela.

My brother Joel Lee, Permaculture and Aprotech Solutions educator, facilitated the warmup laughter yoga and encouraged its regular practice as a way to health and relaxation. 

My sister Eddy Lee, a conservation educator and ecotherapist, led the nature walk, inviting our teen participants to pay attention to the various species of the trees that survived Super-Typhoon Odette and their leaf patterns. They were able to identify most of our fruit trees and surprisingly some of the native trees. When asked why they had some familiarity with the native trees, most of them said that they still had these trees in their mountain villages.

The ME Tree Self-Portrait
(the camote stamps)

We were recently gifted with some camote (sweet potato) and I thought of using this as a medium for the day’s expressive arts session which is the making of The Me Tree Self Portrait.  

I used two medium camote and cut them into thick slices and distributed them among the participants.  They were each provided a dull knife as a simple carving tool to make their leaf stamps.

Paulina Constancia demonstrates how to make the camote stamp and design The ME TREE Self-Portrait

P.Constancia sample ME TREE

The instruction for the activity was :
If you were a tree, what kind would you be, what leaves would you bear and as you createyour portrait focus on your pesonal resilient trait and be ready to share this with the group.

How to Make Your Stamped ME TREE Self Portrait using a camote slice:

  1. Choose leaf design (shape, veins,etc)
  2. Cut the camote slice to shape/margin of your leaf of choice
  3. Using the dull knife provided start carving out the pattern, bearing in mind that the part you remove from the camote is what won’t print or register on your paper.
  4. Practice stamping on scrap paper before doing your prints and composition on the artboard.
  5. Use watercolor or stamp pad for the color and allow to dry before adding design details with ballpen and pencil crayons
  6. Prepare to share your work and personal resilient trait with the group.
Our camote carvers…
Stampin’ away…
Museum visit after the workshop (inside the MONA)
Our teenage participants in front of the museum
Teenage scholars from the St Alfonso Maria Fusco Home at the
Justice Lee Nature Sanctuary. With them are Paulina Constancia, Sr. Vicenta “Inday” Yap, Sr. Salve Narvaja, Eddy Lee and the goldens- Gabby and Sunny

Thank you Sr. Inday, Sr Salve and our teenage workshop participants for the learning adventure that we shared at the sanctuary. Till the next time!

The Floral Assemblage Self Portraits

We are proud to share with you the creations of our recent Learning from Nature’s Resilience 2 workshop. Taking inspiration from the resilience of flowering plants and trees, the teenage participants were invited to create a floral assemblage self-portrait. They were also asked to focus on personal traits that make them resilient. Some of the traits mentioned were STRONG, UNIQUE, CONFIDENT, PRO-ACTIVE, …
(Click on this link to see workshop process and instructions.)

Here is a gallery of the group’s works. Left image is the actual floral assemblage, right image is the water-colour recreation of the assemblage portrait.

We thank the teenage participants for joining us for a fun learning experience at the Nature Sanctuary.

LEARNING FROM NATURE’S RESILIENCE 2: FLOWERS

Yesterday my sister and I co-taught  part 2 of our Learning from Nature’s Resilience workshop series. This time we took inspiration from flowers, and worked with a younger group – teenage survivors of difficult situtations.

My sister Eddy Lee, a conservation educator and ecotherapist, led the nature walk and discussion on nature’s resilience while I facilitated the art session on the making of floral assemblage self portraits.

The group with Eddy Lee, conservation educator and ecotherapist.

I went on an early morning walk at the Sanctuary to gather the variety of flowers to be used for the art session. I was expecting a group of 17, so it was quite a challenge since this is post-typhoon times and there’s not many kinds of flowering plants left. Despite that I am proud to say that i managed to gather more than enough variety for the participants.

Since this was an exercise on resilience, the participants were not allowed to choose from the floral selection and had to make the most out of the flower assigned to them. However,  they were free to choose the other natural add-ons (stones, twigs, leaves, cowrie shells,etc) to complete their assemblage piece.

Creating the Assemblage Portrait

It was fun watching the girls so focused on creating the assemblage then recreating it on another sheet of paper using watercolor as a medium. Later when each of them had the chance to share their process and their reflections, some said they enjoyed making the assemblage better than painting.  Others said the two versions of the portrait were equally fun to create and complete.

Recreating the portraits using water-color

My thoughts on this is that the medium of flowers and other natural elements was a more relaxing medium for the teens, once they drew and painted they started becoming critical of their work (and themselves). Suddenly, i could hear some saying, ‘I’m not good at drawing!’
My reflection on this is that the closer we work with nature and what’s natural, the more we are free and spontaneous, the more we can be our true selves, and without a doubt creativity is at the core of our human nature.

The artists with their assemblage art at the Roundhouse of the Nature Sanctuary
Museum visit after the workshop to see Paulina’s FLORAL CHORUS collection and other works

The teenage participants with the workshop facilitators – Far left expressive arts educator Paulina Constancia and conservation educator and ecotherapist Eddy Lee. Photo also shows a golden retriever named GABBY, the Nature Sanctuary ambassador.

The Resilient Leaf Self-Portrait Art Workshop

Today I thought I’d show more photos of the art making component of our “Learning from Nature’s Resilience” training the trainors workshop which was participated by head teachers and principals of Cluster 7- Carcar City DepEd.

It was a fun and inspiring day learning about resilience through nature’s example.   From a previous post, I shared the enormous damage caused by Odette to the Justice Lee Nature Sanctuary here in Carcar. Below is a photo of our beloved Acacia tree right after Odette.

It appears that the super-typhoon basically “claimed its life”, but picture below shows what our beloved acacia tree looks like now…fresh new branches and leaves have emerged.

It is a living example of resilience. It may have been hurt and broken by Odette, but it has evidently bounced back and is now thriving!

About the WORKSHOP

Inspired by the re-emergence of leaves amongst the trees that were originally thought to have been completely damaged by the super-typhoon, we initiated a resilience art workshop using leaves as base material.

We had a tray of various pre-cut leaves and distributed them among the participating head teachers and principals. They were not allowed to choose because this is a workshop on resilience. You have to find a way to make good use of your “givens”. I was amazed by what the teachers came up with.

The instruction was: Using the leaf provided make a leaf self-portrait that shows this..”I am resilient because I am _________” (participants choose their key personal resilient trait)

This teacher painted a background of rainbow colours before making the leaf imprint.

This teacher made a few two-colour imprint of her leaf and then drew her portrait using a pen once the water-colour imprint had completely dried

This teacher made several leaf imprints using three different colours and turned it into hair for her self-portrait.
Tri-colored leaf hair for her self-portrait.
Head teachers and principals of Cluster 7- Carcar City DepEd busy creating their Leaf Self-Portraits
Here is an image summary of the works of all the participants from Cluster 7 of Carcar City DepEd
Our tall acacia tree may have fallen but it is definitely not dead. Now lowered closer to the pond, its bent trunk is more accessible and serves as an awesome rest and recreation spot for our farm felines. Once again –All’s well (actually “better” according to our cats’ meows.)😹

LEARNING FROM NATURE’S RESILIENCE 1:LEAVES

Yesterday I had the great honour and joy of co-facilating a training the trainors workshop with my siblings — Learning from Nature’s Resilience. Participants of the workshop were head teachers and principals of Cluster 7- Carcar City DepEd. Workshop program included an introduction to permaculture, a silent nature walk, a discussion on nature’s resilience based on their observations during the nature walk, making Leaf Portraits, and a tour of the Museum of Naïve Art. Why leaf portraits? During Super typhoon Odette (aka Typhoon Rai), all the plants and trees lost their leaves from her fury. The first sign of visible recovery is the emergence of new leaves. The participants made their portraits using leaf imprints and stated their resilient trait. It was a hectic morning filled with nature, art, stories, reflections and laughter.

As shared by one of the participants Sir Guilbert “Miski unsa ka kusog sa unós, naay pagluráng!”
(Translation: “No storm lasts forever”… or you can say.. “no matter how heavy the storm, the moment of calm will eventually come”)
A teacher’s training with the DepEd Carcar City Division- Cluster 7 on learning from nature’s resilience
Participating Schools: Kalam Elem School, Kalangyawon Elem and High School, Ocaña Elem School,
Can-asuhan Elem and High School
Intro to Permaculture with Eddy Lee
Silent Nature Walk
Leaf Self-Portrait Art Demo by Paulina Constancia
Leaf Self-Portrait Art Session
I am resilient because I am…..
The group’s leaf self-portraits, I guess you can call this a “group shot”🤣
Museum Tour
Reading about Paulina Constancia’s art, and taking wings at the museum
Happy spirits and winged hearts
Happy, enthusiastic teacher-learners
The whole group with the facilitators: Joel, Eddy and Paulina
Sanctuary Ambassador GABBY

We join Gabby in thanking you, DepEd Carcar City Division- Cluster 7, head teachers and principals for joining us for a fun and inspiring learning experience at the Sanctuary. Till the next time!

(Gabby wants to remind you that one of the secrets of resilience is being proactive… remember the ‘active voice’ – The dog ate the sandwich… not The dog was eaten by the sandwich)

SOME HELPFUL TIPS ON RESILIENCE from Tasimba
Listen. Watch. Learn. There is so much wisdom and wonder in Nature that strengthens our resilience.

Have a purpose – where do you want to be when this is over?

Be proactive – don’t dwell and overthink things; just make stuff happen

Remain hopeful – look forward to and work towards your goal lines

Learn from the past – act on what has served you well in previous adversity

Focus on wellness – (mental AND physical); it is essential for survival

Stay connected – ‘Together we are strong’ – find ways to stay connected through challenging times (adversity)

MONA opens at The Sanctuary in Carcar 2

MONA is now in Carcar!

Here are more photos from the opening of MONA at its new home at the Justice German G Lee Jr. Nature Sanctuary (“The Sanctuary”) in Bacsije, Barangay Ocaña, Carcar.

Guests at the opening were local folks from the South of Cebu (from Carcar to Argao and beyond)- mostly educators and friends of The Sanctuary.

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Groups of 10 or more may now visit the MoNA by appointment only, email or message us at least two weeks in advance.

MONA opens at The Sanctuary in Carcar 1

MoNA is now in Carcar!

On August 3  MoNA opened its doors at its new home at The Justice German Lee Jr Nature Sanctuary (aka “The Sanctuary”) in Bacsije, Barangay Ocaña, Carcar. Guests at the opening were local folks from the South of Cebu (from Carcar to Argao and beyond)- mostly educators and friends of The Sanctuary.

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Highlights of the Opening:

  • Orientation with Edna Lee
  • Sanctuary Tour with Joel Lee
  • MONA Tour with the artist Paulina Constancia
  • Art Workshops with Stamp and Stencil Starters:
    BANDA BAKI and FISHinating Patterns
  • Buffet Lunch
  • Art & Nature Pop Quiz with Edna Lee

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Check out next post for more photos…
Groups of 10 or more may now visit the MoNA by appointment only, email or message us at least two weeks in advance.

Creative Remix 7: The Art Display

Here we have the last of the Creative Remix feature – the art display at the Exhibition Hall at the Roundhouse.

Below is the original display concept  that I proposed to Roundhouse with my own sample projects.
sample display

It was great to see the kids so excited to be involved in setting up the CREATIVE REMIX exhibition which took place on: Friday, July 13 at the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall

simple poster for show

You may be wondering about the other art forms on the poster. The Creative Remix workshop also had daily guest artists offering a variety of opportunities for creative self-expression. Here they are:
Dianna David -movement storytelling workshop
Gamelan Bike Bike – Fieldhouse visit and workshop
Alanna Ho – deep play workshop
Lenore R S Lim– audience with exhibiting printmaker
Kids Yoga – (sorry, I forgot the name of the guest teacher)
Birds in Residence – bird puppet making led by Carmen Rosen

——————————————————————————————————————-
Below are the individual art displays arranged by the kids themselves, literally minutes before their special guests arrived at the exhibition hall.

Here are a couple of photos taken at the event.

show 1

Families and friends of our beloved young artists gather for this special presentation…

show 2

Our young artists proudly presenting their works to their parents…

Special thanks to DB Boyko, Arts Programmer at Roundhouse and  to Sonia Nikitin, my assistant during the whole run of Creative Remix. Most of all, my deep gratitude to our young workshop participants who gave their best in this wonderful creative journey.

Creative Remix 6 -Painting with Fabric

Here is the 6th art-ivity at my Creative Remix workshop at the Roundhouse…Painting with Fabric! Yes, you heard that right..not with paint but with fabric and we went with the bird theme.

Here are the materials we used:

  • square paper plate (as canvas)
  • textile combo (2 coordinated prints and 2 plains)
    (precut and pre-mixed & matched; kids choose from an assortment of combos)
  • water dish
  • Mode Podge glue, matte
  • brush
  • pencil
  • bond paper
  • bird books and cliparts for inspiration
  • rags
  • scissors

materials

And here are the steps:

  1. Choose the bird you want to make. Draw it ‘big!’ on the bond paper provided, making sure it fits as centrepiece of square plate.
  2. Hold bond paper (top) and selected fabric (underneath), and then cut.

Tip: For bigger kids,  you could use some dressmaking pins to secure the two layers together for easier cutting.

kids at work 2

kids at work 1

3.  Continue following this method to cut the other elements of your design.

4. Cut to size  and  glue on biggest fabric provided onto the middle of plate using Modge Podge. (Brush glue onto plate)

5. Glue on main body of bird, then continue with other bird features and background embellishments. Note that Modge Podge dries clear so use it under and over your fabric. No worries!

6. When completed, mount on plate/frame stand and delight with pride with your family and friends!

sample on stand

Each unique and colourful. Well done, kids!

Here are the masterpieces of my students. Great work, kids!

Soon after we finished the art plates, we went downstairs to the exhibition hall to prepare for the special showing of the kids’ works. They all helped mount the exhibition and were all excited to show their families and friends all the work they created in the Creative Remix sessions. Check out their art display, up next…

Creative Remix 5-Outdoor Mandala

We come to the 5th art-ivity in my Creative Remix workshop at Roundhouse Centre…Outdoor Mandala.

Originally, we were going to try making one at the park or near a beach but in the end we just did one right outside the Roundhouse.

Here are some of the components of our mandala:

  • hangers
  • mini toy components
  • cut cardboard shapes (rounds and strips)
  • big multicoloured blanket yarns
  • pompoms (we had an abundant supply from a previous  pompom workshop at Roundhouse)
  • giant coloured plastic buttons
  • chenille (craft pipe cleaners)
  • golf tees

-basically all things colourful and wonderful (in great numbers) are a welcome addition
materials

Steps

  1. Determine the size of mandala you are making. It is best you mark the pavement with a chalk to guide the kids.
  2. Group kids and assign component to add onto mandala. Designate which part of circle they are filling.

1-the making.jpg

3. Stop and assess. Do you need more components? Are the kids expanding the circle too much? Is it even still looking like a circle, hahahah. (FYI-This was just a spontaneous design and free flow mandala.)

4. Take group photo and enjoy the group’s outdoor masterpiece.

3-group pic
(Sorry to blur their little faces but I don’t have photo/social media consent from their parents so that’s why you only see my face)

2-detail.jpg

5. Then of course, everybody helps in tidying up after.

Bear in mind again, these are kids ages 5 to 10 working on an outdoor mandala for the first time. I think they did an amazing job. Bravo, kids!

 

 

 

 

Creative Remix 4 – Mini Monoprints

I share with you the sixth art-ivity that my students and I did in the Creative Remix sessions I facilitated at the Roundhouse Centre… Mini Monoprints!

The materials we used:

  • foam sheet, preferably with stickie back
  • card stock/drawing/watercolour paper (whatever you have)
    (ATC/artist trading card size – 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches
  • ballpoint pen
  • scissors
  • brushes
  • watercolour
  • water dish
  • rag/towel
  • 9-card Artist Trading Card Plastic Sleeve

materials

Learn about the history of ARTIST TRADING CARDS

STEPS

1. The Printing Plate —Cut the foam sheet to ATC size 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches, mount on cardboard or anything sturdy.

foam printing plate setup

2. Using a ballpoint pen, draw on the foam printing plate. Try to create just one big image rather than a multitude of little figures/details.

1

A simple rainbow-design on a mini foam printing plate

3. Using a brush, apply watercolor onto the foam plate, then quickly press the paper onto the plate. It is best to rub palm onto paper to ensure that it picks up as much detail from the plate.

4. Pull your paper/print, and try another color combination, and make more prints.

2

Nine mini monoprints from one foam printing plate

I asked my students to make a minimum of 9 prints each. It was fun to see the different color combinations they came up with. Check out their creations below:

9

This is a great example of a simple and very focused design that creates a most striking effect. The bird’s colors do not change just the background.

5

POPSICLE – what a perfect summer print (and treat)!!!

Here are six more print series by my students. Bear in mind that these are kids ages 5 to 10 making monoprints for the first time.

 

The children were quite proud of their mini monoprints. At first they thought I was asking too much when I said they have to produce a minimum of 9 prints, but they did it!  CONGRATS kids!

Creative Remix 3 -Spin Art

We continue with the art-ivities at the Creative Remix workshop that I facilitated at the Roundhouse Centre. Today I bring you SPIN ART!

Turn things you already have at home into fun spin art machines! Try what we used in class — a mini toy gear and a salad spinner…

A- Spin Art using a Mini Toy Gear

Untitled 13

I was looking for something I could use to make spin art. I found this toy gear at a Thrift Store. Here goes…

  1. Using masking tape, secure the mini round paper to the platform of mini machine
  2. Press/use different coloured markers onto the paper while the machine is spinning
  3. Keep adding colors until you are satisfied with the results.

Here are some of my students’ works:

spin art

Then we turned them into key rings, by using self-adhesive laminating sheets, strings and rings… check out their final creations

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B- Spin Art using a Salad Spinner

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Here is another fun and simple tool to use to create beautiful spin art…the salad spinner.

  1. Using masking tape, secure the paper onto the basket of the salad spinner 
  2. Apply paint (acrylic or tempera) by hand, brush or by squirting it onto the paper, cover and then spin away!!!
  3. Open spinner, check results, keep adding paint and spin until you get desired results.

stepsOptional: Spritz a bit of water if you want the paint to flow more (as long as paper quality allows it).

Here are some of my students’ fabulous salad spinner creations:

Here is an option as a post-spinning activity… “Figure it out!” Get the students to look at their spin art and find the figure or hidden image in their work and highlight it with a black sharpie. This is a great activity for expressive arts therapy.

before-after-expressive arts

Here is my spin art figure: “Dreaming of Flight”