A phone call interrupted my reverie. It was Gideon asking if I’d had an interesting morning. I blurted out the incident of the birds and the books and the paper and the music and whatever else I could recall. I commented how curious it seemed that dreams of yesteryear could leap across the crevices of time onto the pages of today. “When you think about it, John,” he said, “there really is no past nor future, no beginnings nor endings,just the ones that we create in our minds depending on our current perspective. A thousand lifetimes in a million years or a million lifetimes in a thousand years,what does it matter, anyway? We’ve always been alive.” “Doesn’t it get lonesome being the only one with all the answers,Gideon?” I taunted. “And I’m sorry, why did you say you called?” “I didn’t say,but since you asked,” he said,“no special reason. Just wanted to tell you it’s not the answers that we have problems with. We have all the answers. What we need are the questions. . . .” “What did you say about no beginnings or endings just a few moments ago?” I interrupted. “Words are just symbols of meaning and not the meaning itself. They are not the best representatives of truth, but in their own way, they do express it somewhat. In other words, don’t confuse the map with the territory.By the way,still interested in going on that trip?” “What and when do I pack?” I asked. “You don’t have to pack anything. A good part of the trip is internal,” he said. “And as to when? The answer is when it’s most appropriate.” “Actually,where are we going, Gideon? And what are we searching for?” I asked. “You are searching for the one secret of life, John. The one that was written in the middle of the book you found beneath the mango tree when you were seven years old. The secret you couldn’t read because you didn’t understand the language.” “So you knew about that, eh Gideon? Was that really the secret of life written there? There were just a few words.Is that all there is to it? A simple little secret?” “Simple. Not easy,” he replied. “Do you think we’ll ever find it?” I asked. “It’s not the finding that’s difficult,” he replied, “it’s the recognizing.” “Well, I’m looking forward to all this,” was all I could say. “Not to worry, John,” he replied in that tone which always brought me a sense of assurance and comfort. “We’ll take care of all that. And of course, Marla will be there, too.” There was a pause, then he added, “That’s all for now. You’ll hear from us soon. Bye.” The phone went dead. The day hadn’t really started and already it seemed like I’d been awake for many hours. The children must be awake, I thought, because I could now hear footsteps coming downstairs. Malika came into the kitchen, said good morning and casually mentioned a weird dream about birds that read books. But she couldn’t remember any details. Interesting, I thought . . . very interesting.