Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 9, No. 3, 2010
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
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Bernard Dubé
David Solway
Sylvain Richard
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
Diane Gordon
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Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
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  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
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Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward






ONCE UPON A TIME there was a place that was very far away from everything. It was so far away the earth wasn't called the earth and the sky wasn't called the sky. Imagine a place where nothing has a name. Imagine if you didn't have a name. Nobody would know you. Nobody could call you. Without a name you wouldn't be you.

One day in this strange, far away place it began to rain. It rained for a long, long time. Puddles of water formed on the ground. Some of the smaller puddles trickled into each other and formed bigger puddles. Then the rain stopped. The sky cleared and turned blue, and overhead the sun was shining brightly. The sun's hot rays fell on the cool puddles. A mist formed. The mist was so thick you couldn’t see anything. It was like being inside a cloud.

What looked like a shape of something began to form, but you couldn’t tell what it was because of the mist. At first, it looked like a tree, but the longer you looked the more it didn't look like anything. What could it be?

Suddenly something like an arm appeared. And then another arm stuck out. And then you could see what looked like two legs attached to a body. And on top of the body -- a head. Wow! It wasn't a tree. It was a man.

The man with legs, body and head stood tall, his head and shoulders above the mist. He spread his arms and opened his hands and watched the mist disappear. Everything was now very clear. He looked around and saw that he was surrounded by beautiful things of many colours.

"I wonder where I am?" he asked himself. He looked down and saw that his feet were standing on the ground. He stamped down his right foot and then his left foot. Then with both feet he jumped up and down. He was relieved that he didn't sink and disappear. The ground was solid and firm and kept him from floating off into space. "My being here makes this ground very special," the man decided. "I'm going to give this ground a name." He thought for a long moment while looking at all the things held in place by the ground. "I'm going to name it The Earth. Without The Earth, there wouldn't be a place for me. Without The Earth, I wouldn't be anywhere, and nobody wants to be nowhere." And so The Earth received its name.

Next, the man lifted his eyes and looked into the clear blue sky that seemed to go on forever. In the blueness the white fluffy clouds looked like floating islands. He took a deep breath. It was clean and smelled of forest and wild flowers. He took another deep breath and felt strong. "This is also something very special," the man said, feeling his lungs expand. "It also deserves a name." He thought and thought, and then clapping his hands he said: "I've got it. I'm going to name it The Air. Without The Air I wouldn't be able to breathe, and neither would the trees and flowers and animals.

The man continued to explore his new home where everything was so new nothing had been named.

After a while, he noticed his lips were dry and so was the inside of his mouth. "I must be thirsty," he thought. He looked about for something to drink. His tongue was as dry as old bread. In the distance, he noticed a cluster of large circles shining on the ground and he wondered what they might be. Faster than a rabbit, he ran to the circles and discovered that they were puddles. It was exactly what he needed. "My thirst makes this very special," he said. "I must give it a name." Instead of drinking right away, he thought until the right name came to him. "I've got it," he said. "My thirst will always be thankful for” -- and then he spoke the word “Water.” Without Water I would shrivel up and disappear.

The thirsty man went over to one of the bigger puddles of water. The water was so clear he could see to the bottom. He fell to his knees and was bending over to drink when he suddenly saw the shape of another man in the water. He was startled and moved back. The man in the water was also startled and moved back. "Who could that be?" He inched closer. At the same time, the man in the water also moved closer, inch by inch. This was very strange. Next he waved his hand and the man in the water also waved his hand. He wanted to know why the man in the water was doing exactly the same as him. "Who are you?" he asked. "And why are you copying me?" "I am you," the man in the water answered back. "No you're not. I am me." "That's right," said the man in the water. "I am you." "Really," they both said at the same time. Once again he looked into the perfectly still water, and lo and behold, he saw himself.

"Wow! It's true," he said, amazed. "You are me," he said to his face in the water. "You are my reflection. When the water is still, it acts like a mirror." He touched his chin and nose with his hand. His reflection did exactly the same thing at the same time. "It is me," he said in wonderment. "That means I'm something -- and not nothing -- just like the Earth and Air and Water are something." He suddenly stopped. "But I don’t have a name."

He thought for a long, long time. He thought for so long he even forgot he was thirsty. It wasn't easy to name something that could talk and run and laugh and name other things. "Only I can give names to other things. I must be something very special. I must be a miracle." He jumped up in the air and started waving his hands and shouting. "I know what I am. I'm a miracle. I’m a person. I'm a miracle," he kept shouting again and again. "From now on, my name is going to be -- it's going to be -- Person."

He whispered his name and then everything fell silent. In the stillness was gathered the Earth, Air and Water. Person fell to his knees and beheld the miracle of it all. "And all these things that I have named make up -- The World. I am in The World," he said. "I am in The World." And for this he was very thankful. He then shaped his hands into a cup and brought cool water to his mouth. Never had anything tasted so good. The dryness in his mouth and throat disappeared. He drank until he felt strong enough to continue exploring his new home.

Everywhere Person went, he was the first to be there. His footsteps made new paths. Along the way he discovered trees with white bark which he named Birch Trees; and he gave the name Grasshopper to the insect that hopped high into the air. But there was still something he hadn't discovered, and yet he couldn't say what it was.

He continued exploring and giving names to the new things he encountered, but after a while there wasn't much to do and time passed very slowly. He wished he had a friend with whom he could play and explore, but there was no one. "Is there another person here?" he shouted. He waited for an answer, but none came.

He sat down beneath the shade of a Birch Tree and looked around him at all the wonderful things he had discovered, but he wasn't very happy. "It's no fun being a miracle all by yourself," he muttered. His new home, The World, was beautiful, but it wasn't fun being in it all alone. He wanted to share The World with others. "But I'm not going to find other people sitting here all day," he said, pushing himself up. And with a new purpose in his stride, he went off looking for others.

Person walked and walked. The minutes turned into hours. And to make matters worse, the hot sun was slowing him down. It wasn't long before he fell thirsty again. But when he looked for water, he couldn't find any puddles. The ground was dry and cracked and the grass and bushes were brown and shriveled. He wondered if it ever rained here. He looked around him. There was nobody. He continued even though he knew he didn’t know where he was going.

Person was feeling pooped when he noticed the sun was almost touching the earth. He stopped and looked to where the sky and earth met. There, in the distance, the sky turned bright orange, then red and violet, and finally deep purple. Person had never seen anything so beautiful. It looked like a painting. A few minutes later the sun disappeared and so did the beautiful colours. He was sad The Sunset didn't last longer.

When he started to walk again, he could hardly see where he was going. At the same time, his legs began to feel heavy and so did his eyelids. "I had better rest to have strength for the next day," he decided.

Nearby, in a grassy shallow protected by a high hedge, he found a soft piece of sandy ground to lie down on. He stretched out. It felt good to rest. He decided he would name the time to rest and sleep -- The Night.

When he looked up into the sky everything was black except for small little lights which were twinkling. He named them Stars. And that which was hanging in the sky like a big yellow ball he named The Moon. It was too dark to see anything else so he thought about all the wonderful things he had discovered during the day. He soon fell into a deep sleep.


When Person awoke the next morning, The Night had already departed and the sun was shining on his face. He stretched out his arms and legs and blinked open his eyes. At first, he didn't know where he was. But then he began to recall his many adventures of the day before, and then he knew where he was. Without the-day-before, he wouldn't have been able to remember what he did and where he had explored. For this place he was very thankful. The-day-before was so important he decided to give it a name. He named it Yesterday. After all, without Yesterday, there wouldn't be a place to remember.

And now that he was wide awake, he understood that when he got tired and fell asleep there would be the day-after where he would wake up. For this he was also thankful, because without the-day-after, as soon as he fell asleep he would sleep forever. And that meant he would never again be able to discover things and play outside. The-day-after was so important he named it Tomorrow. He needed Tomorrow because he needed a place to wake up. Person was happy because his new day had only just begun and he had already discovered Yesterday and Tomorrow.

He started to sing a song. And then with a burst of energy he began to run. Only when he fell short of breath did he slow down to a walk, and then he remembered that he was looking for another person with whom he could explore and share The World. He walked and walked and walked but he didn't meet a single person. He felt sad and lonely. "What's the point in being a miracle if you can't tell anybody," he mumbled to himself.

The hot sun was directly over his head. Beads of sweat were gathering on his forehead. He licked his tongue. It was dry like sand. And the air was as dry as flour. He suddenly felt dizzy and could hardly walk in a straight line. Person desperately needed water, but there was none to find. He dropped to his knees. A gust of wind blew dirt into his eyes and mouth. He started to cough and his eyes began to tear. For a long time he didn't move. The hot sun was beating down on him. He felt weak and miserable. He looked at his arms and saw that the skin had turned reddish-pink and was starting to peel. He realized he had to do something or he would dry up and disappear.

He forced himself to stand up. With great difficulty, dragging his feet, he took one step and then another, and plodded on, ever so slowly, not knowing where he was going. Sometimes the wind would sweep up the ground and he would disappear in a cloud of dirt. He was just about to give up when he heard a strange sound far above him.

He looked up and squinted into the blinding white sky and saw a flock of birds flying in a circle. The birds were flying easily over a patch of dark blue ground. Person turned himself in the direction of the blue ground. He was puzzled. He had always known The Earth to be either green or brown.

He trudged along at a snail’s pace. With each step, the blue patch grew bigger and bigger, but because of the heat he was feeling weaker and dizzier. He was almost at the edge of the blue surface when he realized it wasn't The Earth. It was something else. Smooth ripples were traveling across its surface, curling in upon themselves at the edges. He cautiously floated the tips of his fingers over it. It was wet and cool, like water. "Yes," he said, jumping for joy. "It's a huge huge puddle of water."

He was so happy he cried. Now he wouldn't dry up and disappear. Before drinking, he sailed his eyes over the endless expanse of blue. He couldn't see where it ended. There was enough water to quench everyone's thirst. He named this body of water a Lake because it was so much bigger than a puddle of water.

Person was very thirsty. His tongue was dry and his throat was parched. He couldn't remember when he last drank. The water was cool and inviting. He fell to his knees and offered thanks to The Lake for showing itself. "Without your water I would dry up and disappear," Person said to his new friend. He cupped his hands and scooped fresh cool water to his lips. He had never tasted anything so good. "My thirst makes your water very special." He drank slowly until he was no longer thirsty. When he had quenched his thirst he said goodbye to The Lake and continued his search for others. After all, what was the point of there being such a big Lake without others to drink from it?

For the remainder of the day Person walked in the heat. Finally, in the early evening, he felt the air begin to cool off. He also felt a small emptiness in his stomach. The emptiness got bigger and bigger, and even hurt a little. When he stopped to listen he could hear gurgling inside the emptiness. It didn't take him long to figure out what was making his stomach talk out loud. He was hungry. He couldn't remember when he last ate. He was so hungry his legs began to feel wobbly. And to make matters worse, the sun would soon disappear behind the earth, which meant The Night would soon arrive and he wouldn't be able to see where he was going.

Person had already begun to look for a place to sleep when he noticed a thin stream of smoke in the distance. "I wonder where that's coming from?" There was still a little light left in the sky so he decided he would try to find the source of the smoke.

He soon found himself in a wooded area. The trees were so tall and thick he could no longer see the smoke, but he found a footpath which he followed with growing excitement. He wondered how the path came to be there.

The path led him past trees he had never seen before and guided him in between huge rocks. He could now smell the smoke he still couldn't see. The path brought him to a small clearing. In the clearing stood a wooden cabin. He stopped and stared. He had never before seen a cabin. He approached it cautiously.

The cabin had two windows whose shutters were open, and a door that was closed. Smoke was coming out of the chimney. He walked around the cabin, admiring its shape and slanted roof. He wondered what was inside.

Suddenly the door opened and a face appeared. Person's eyes opened wide. And so did the eyes of the other person standing in the doorway. He looked at the face and the face looked at him. It reminded him of the face he saw in the water. It had a nose, chin, eyes, ears and mouth. Neither could speak. They were both astonished by what they saw. Person began to stammer: "He-he-hello."

The other person also stammered: "He-he-hello."

"My name is Person. I'm a miracle." He approached the other person and held out his hand. The other person offered his hand. Their hands clasped. "Your hand is warm like mine," said Person. "You must also be a miracle." Tears of joy formed in Person's eyes and in the eyes of the other person. "I am so happy to have found you. I've been looking for you ever since I can remember."

"And I've been waiting for a visitor since I can remember," said the other person. "My name is Mr. Other. Please come into our home."

"Thank you," said Person, and followed Mr. Other inside. The log cabin was cozy and warm. Wood was burning in the fireplace. Person was spellbound by the flames. "These flamed made it possible to see in the night."

"The flames also give off warmth," said Mr. Other. "The cold winter makes these warm flames very special. The wood with which we make the fire is also very special. Without trees we wouldn't have been able to build our home. I'm thankful these trees have showed themselves to me and my family."

"Your words are warm, Mr. Other. And I'm thankful to hear them."

"You must be hungry. Would you like something to eat?"

"Oh yes, Mr. Other. I'm starving. I can't remember when I last ate." Person followed Mr. Other into the kitchen where another surprise greeted him. Seated around a wooden table were three other persons. Two of them were very tiny.

"This is my family," said Mr. Other, beaming with pride. "This is my wife, Mrs. Other." Person held out his hand which Mrs. Other clasped. Her hand was also warm. "And these are our two Children." Person placed his hands on their soft, warm cheeks.

"You have such a wonderful family."

"I am a very fortunate man," said Mr. Other.

"I have never seen such small persons as your two children," said Person, amazed.

"You should have seen them when they were born," said Mr. Other. "They were no bigger than loaves of bread."

"Really," said Person, even more amazed.

Mr. Other continued. "But each day they grew a tiny bit. Then one day they began to walk, and soon after that they began to talk. It was something to behold, I tell you."

"A miracle," said Person, in a hushed voice.

"If a miracle is something to wonder at, then our children are truly miracles," joined in Mrs. Other. "Now you wait here, Person, and I'll be back in a minute."

Mrs. Other went outside to a stone kiln. With a flat piece of wood, she reached inside and pulled out a freshly baked loaf of bread that she brought inside and set on the table. Person's mouth began to water.

"This smells heavenly, Mrs. Other. How on earth did you make it?"

"That's a long story," said Mr. and Mrs. Other together.

"May I hear it?" requested Person.

Mr. Other was only too happy to tell the story of the bread. He took his place at the table and became very serious. The others leaned forward on their elbows.

"Once upon a time, where our cabin now stands, there was nothing but tall trees and heavy rocks. So we began by cutting down the trees and clearing the rocks. This took many months of back-breaking labor." Mr. Other looked at his children. "And your good mother was at my side every single day. When the trees were felled we stripped them of their branches and used the logs to build our cabin.

"Then we had to clear the area around the cabin because we needed land to grow food. But the ground was too hard. It had to be chopped up and tilled, and that took one whole month. Only when the soil was loosened could we plant seeds. But seeds need rain if they are to sprout into plants. Sometimes weeks pass without rain. Without rain, the seeds won't grow into food and without anything to eat we would all disappear. You can well imagine how thankful we are when the rains come.

"In the back of our house we have planted wheat seeds. The wheat has to grow for many months before kernels appear. Then, at the end of the summer, Mrs. Other and myself go into the fields and harvest the kernels. We gather enough to last us through the cold winter."

"To make bread," continued Mrs. Other, "I take a measure of kernels and grind them with a big stone into flour. I then mix the flour with water and yeast and bake it inside the kiln. I'll show it to you tomorrow. The heat makes the mixture rise into a loaf of bread. Go ahead and try it. It's the best bread The Earth can give."

Person fell silent while a strange feeling came over him. He felt something inside of him that wanted to speak, but its tongue was tied. He thought about all the work Mr. and Mrs. Other undertook to make a loaf of bread and how lucky he was to have found them. Suddenly his feelings found the word he was looking for. The word was Thank You. He was thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Other for making him understand how a loaf of bread comes to be what it is. Saying Thank You brought him closer to them and their labour and their bread. "My hunger makes this bread very special," said Person, breaking off a piece before passing it around the table. In turn, each broke off a piece of bread. Person bit into it. The crust was crusty and the inside warm and tasty. He had never tasted such good bread.

That night, before falling asleep on the bed Mrs. Other had prepared for him, he thought of the wonderful new people he had met who were sharing their food and shelter with him. "Their appearance in The World is nothing less then a miracle," Person thought to himself. "Tomorrow I'm going to do something special for them." On that final thought, he fell into a deep sleep.



In the middle of the night Person had a strange dream. He dreamt the sky was on the ground and the ground was in the sky. He was looking for water to drink but he couldn't find the lake because everything was upside down. The more thirsty he became the more afraid he was going to dry up and disappear. When looked down at his feet he couldn't see the ground. He began to tremble and shake. All of a sudden he felt cold air blowing up all around him. It pulled his hair straight up on end. He realized he was falling, faster and faster. Everything rushed by him in a blur, but the ground was nowhere in sight. He was terrified and was about to cry out for help when he heard a deep voice that sounded like it came from a place very far away: Are you looking for the ground?"

"Yes. Yes," Person sobbed. "Please help me find the ground."

"Mr. Being is the only person who can help you find the ground. Go find him."

"But where is he?" cried Person. "Where should I look for him?" There was no answer.

Person waited for the voice to return. He waited and waited.

The wind had stopped blowing, and in the calm that followed he began to think of Mr. Being. He wondered how he would recognize him if he were to find him. Soon afterwards, he fell asleep again.

When he awoke the next morning he heard the familiar voices of Mr. and Mrs. Other and their two children.



Person bounded out of bed and went to the window. Warm sunlight was slanting through the trees. The bright light falling on the morning dew made the leaves glitter like crystal. Person looked on for a long time – in awe of the beauty of the outside -- before going into the kitchen to join the others. "Good morning," they greeted him in unison. He had never been greeted before. It made his waking up very special.

"And good morning to all of you," Person returned warmly.

“We are honoured to have you as a visitor," declared Mrs. Other.

"I'm the honored one," said Person. The children slid themselves off their chairs and with short steps hurried over to Person who immediately surrendered to their affection. "You have wonderful children," Person said to Mr. and Mrs. Other.

"And they are happy you have come to stay with us," said their grateful mother, beaming with pleasure.

"The children make each day special," said Mr. Other.

"And don't forget your dear wife," said Mrs. Other winking.

"Of course not, my love," said Mr. Other, planting a kiss on her rosy cheek.

"Come with me," invited Person. "I want you to look out the window."They proceeded to the living room. Mr. Other opened the shutters. They all gathered around the window and beheld the forest that was bathed in crystal light. The Others had seen this before, but each time it was as if they were seeing it for the very first time, so beautiful was it. "Is it like this every morning?" asked Person, spellbound.

"Oh no," said Mr. Other. "These mornings are very special. The nights must be cool so dew forms on the leaves and the mornings must be sunny."

Mrs. Other left the others and went outside to take a closer look at the trees. On the ground beneath the trees were containers made of tree bark which had been turned up at the edges like saucers. Most of them were full of fresh water that had dripped off the wet leaves. Mrs. Other took each bowl and poured it into a big clay jug. The others watched her pour. When the jug was full she brought it into the house and set it on the kitchen table. "We have good water to drink this morning," she said, solemnly.

She poured water for her children, and then the others, serving herself last.

Having observed the hard work that went into gathering water, Person now understood how some water could be more important than other water. He thought of the big lake whose water was there without effort.

Everyone drank in silence. Mrs. Other saved half the jug for evening. "Is this how you fetch your drinking water everyday?" asked Person.

"That depends," said Mrs. Other. "If it rains, our well fills with water which lasts a long time. But sometimes it doesn't rain for weeks on end and the well dries up. Then we must gather the dew that drips off the leaves into the bark containers I have set beneath the trees. Often during the hot summers, the nights aren't cool enough for dew to form on the leaves. Then we have to go the entire day without drinking. Going all day without drinking water makes us all very thankful for whatever water the morning dew provides.”

"Yes. Yes," said Person, thoughtfully. "Without drinking water we would dry up and disappear."

"During the summer we often wonder if we are going to disappear," said Mrs. Other, afraid for her family.

Person listened. His heart was trying to tell him something. It told him to return the goodness the Other family had been extending to him since his arrival. Wanting to help them reminded him of a very special place. "I want you all to come with me," he said, all excited.

"Where?" asked Mr. Other.

"It's not far from here," said Person, pointing to the edge of the forest. "Do you have any empty jugs?"

"There's this one here that's half full, and two empty ones outside." They went outside to where the jugs stood against the wall.

"We'll bring them with us," said Person, wrapping his arms around one of the empty ones.

And so began their adventure. Person's excitement spread to the others, who eagerly followed him along the same path he had found the night before, a path which the Other family themselves had made a long time ago. It led them to the edge of the forest and into the open prairie.

"We have never been this far from home," announced Mrs. Other, nervously pressing the hands of her children to her sides. "The ground is very dry here."

"Don't worry," said Person. "It's not far now." The heat and wind had turned everything brown and rust-colored. They listened to the sun-burnt stubble crackle beneath their steps. "There it is," said Person, pointing to a big patch of blue in the distance.

"What's that?" they asked, puzzled.

"Go and see," invited Person, smiling. With Mr. Other in the lead, they all started running towards the blue patch of whatever it was they had never seen before. When they got close enough to the blue to see what it really was, they started shouting: "Water, water, water. There's enough water here for everybody forever."

“It's named a Lake," explained Person. "It's where large bodies of water gather and stay."

Mrs. Other clasped her hands. Her eyes filled with tears. "Thank you ever so much for bringing us to the Lake," she said to Person. "Now our children will never go thirsty and they won't cry out for water in the middle of the night."

They all sat down at the Lake's sandy shore and beheld its vastness. In the peaceful silence, Mr. Other began to speak: "Person has taught us something very special today. He showed us a Lake that has always been here. There must be many things that have always been here which we don't see. We must look for these things and make them appear to us."

Everyone thought about Mr. Others words.

Meanwhile, the children had waded into the cool water and were splashing each other and squealing with delight. Soon the others joined them and discovered they could keep cool in the heat of the day. Yes. Today the adults learned something from the children.

When the hottest part of the day had passed, they filled the empty jugs with water and began the journey homeward. They now had two days worth of water, plus the dew-water gathered from the leaves.

In single file they retraced their steps. They crossed the flat, unprotected prairie which led them to the forest. There, they were happy because the forest provided welcome shade. It wasn't too long before they could see the friendly outline of their cabin through the trees.

Person was breathing in the wonderful pine scent of the forest when his nose began to twitch. A familiar and delicious aroma was making his mouth water. Mrs. Other was twinkling her eyes. "I see you have discovered my secret," she said. "Early this morning I put two loaves of bread in the oven. By the smell, I think they are ready to be eaten."

"I can't wait," said Person. Mrs. Other went to fetch the bread while the others began looking for a soft grassy spot in the shade.

They were already sitting in a circle when Mrs. Other returned with one of the loaves, which was round and crusty. It didn't last long. When they finished eating, they poured themselves fresh water from one of the jugs. After their wonderful picnic, they all stretched out and dozed for a while.

It was late in the afternoon when they awoke. Person slowly rose to his feet and looked at each member of the Other family. There was sadness in his eyes. He reluctantly told his friends that he had to leave them and continue his journey. The two children began to cry. "Stay with us," they pleaded. They had grown to love Person. Person's eyes clouded with tears. He wished he could stay.

"You know you are welcome to live with us," said Mr. and Mrs. Other. "We would so much like you to stay. You have brought much happiness to our home."

"I would love to stay with you but I must go."

"Why must you go?" asked Mr. Other, with a puzzled expression on his face.

"I'm looking for someone very special."

"And who is that?"

"I'm looking for Mr. Being."

"Mr. Being. Who is Mr. Being? I don't believe I've heard of him."

"I'm not sure myself who he is," admitted Person. "That's why I must find him."

"Why do you want to find him?" asked Mr. Other.

"Because only he can tell me why I'm looking for him."

"Is it important that you find him?"

"Finding him will be the most important event in my life."

"Really," said Mr. Other. "He must be very important."

Person prepared to take his leave. Mrs. Other bundled up an half-loaf of bread and some fresh fruit on a stick. Person thanked her and promised to return after finding Mr. Being. "And bring him with you," Mr. Other reminded him.

"I surely will," said Person. "And during my search I will think of you often. I will always think of you as my family and of this place as my home."

"And we will think of you whenever we drink from the Lake."

Person kissed the children goodbye. They clung to him and wouldn't let go. He reluctantly freed himself from their grasp. "Goodbye, my dearest friends," said Person.

"Goodbye, Person," said the Others. They didn't stop waving until he had disappeared into the deep green of the forest.


It was a beautiful day. The sun was smiling brightly and there was a gentle breeze in the air. When he looked up into the turquoise blue sky he saw white, fluffy clouds floating by, throwing patches of shade onto the ground.

Person had long ago left the prairie behind him and was now walking amongst rolling green hills. He couldn't wait to climb the hills, each promising a view of what lay beyond. From the top of one of the higher hills, he spotted a stream winding its way along the valley bed. He ran down to the stream, fell to his knees and slowly drank its waters. The cool water quenched his thirst. He listened to the soft murmur and gurgling of the stream. Its music was peaceful and inviting. He decided he would follow the stream.

Along the way he discovered many new fruits. His hunger made these new fruits very special. He gave each new fruit a name.

The bright red fruit that was the size of a bite and grew close to the ground he named Strawberries. The furry fruit that was round and yellow and hung in trees he named Peaches. And the dark blue fruit that was tiny and sweet he named Blueberries.They all tasted wonderful and he was thankful that they showed themselves to him.

Looking into the stream and the fruits that drank from it, and the cozy, rolling green hills that protected everything, he thought how nice it would be to live in such a place. Like Mr. and Mrs. Other, he would built a log cabin from the trees that grew on the highest hills. And with the extra wood he would make a fire at night. "Maybe I'll settle down here after I find Mr. Being," Person thought to himself.

The stream took a sudden turn. Its course narrowed and its waters flowed faster. The hills were now rugged and mountainous, some with sharp, rocky peaks. In the distance, along the steep sides of the two mountains that were almost touching each other, he saw the shapes of houses on each side. Far below the houses were dangerous rapids in the river, foaming and angry. Above the rapids was a bridge that linked the two towns. On one side, the houses were painted dark blue and brown. On the other side, the houses were bright orange and yellow.

Person hurried toward the town and soon heard the playful voices of other miracles. Their many voices sounded like music and made him feel happy. "Maybe the others who live in the town will be able to help me find Mr. Being," Person thought out loud. He picked a few ripe berries to nibble on before entering the town.

He had hardly advanced ten steps when he noticed smoke rising from a clump of bushes not too far from the river. He approached the smoke cautiously, not wanting to disturb the person who was making the smoke. But when he arrived, no one was there. A camp fire was burning. Person looked around. "Is anyone here?" he shouted. No one answered.

Suddenly, the wind picked up and blew some of the fire into the nearby bushes which caught fire. Person quickly went over to the bushes and began stamping out the fire with his feet. "If the bushes catch fire, the berries will burn and disappear," said Person, alarmed, "and the miracle that they are will disappear forever. Whoever forgot to look after his fire isn't very thankful," Person concluded.

He went to the river, cupped his hands and brought water to the fire. The fire hissed and sizzled and gave off huge puffs of smoke. Only after many trips back and forth to the river were the last flames and red hot ashes finally extinguished.

Person was getting ready to continue his journey when suddenly a voice stopped him: "Who are you?” boomed the voice. It wasn't friendly and not at all thankful for meeting another person.

"I'm a miracle," answered Person. "And so are you."

"You don't know what you're talking about," said the other, who laughed in a gruff sort of way. "Now I asked you where are you going?" A man wearing dirty clothes and a crooked black hat that slanted over one of his eyes stepped out from behind a peach tree. He plucked a juicy peach from the tree, took a single bite, then tossed the peach into the river. Person watched the peach sink and disappear.

"Our hunger makes that peach very special," said Person, still looking where the peach sank in the water. "That peach is now gone forever."

"Will you quit talking nonsense and tell me what you're doing in these parts?"

"I'm looking for Mr. Being."

"Mr. Being," the man snickered. "Why are you looking for him?"

"Only he can tell me that," answered Person.

"Mr. Being can't help you."

"And why is that?" asked Person.

"Because there is no such person as Mr. Being. That's why." Person didn't believe him.

"But you just said he couldn't help me. Which means there is a Mr. Being. Maybe he lives in town," suggested Person.

"I know each and every person who lives in town," said the man. "Come with me and you'll see there is no Mr. Being living there." Person decided to follow the man into town.

"My name is Person. What is your name?"

"They call me Falling." The both of them shook hands. Falling's hands were much colder than Mr. Other's.

"Do you live in the town?" asked Person.

"Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't," answered Falling, in a wishy-washy way. "But it's a fun town," he added with a smirk.

"What do you mean by fun?"

"You'll find out soon enough," promised Falling, with a glint of mischief in his eye. "And you'll also find out that there is no Mr. Being there because he doesn't know how to have fun."

"But you just told me that Mr. Being doesn't exist."

"I've never seen him," said Falling. "The people who live in the yellow and orange houses on the other side of the bridge sometimes talk about him, but I've never seen him. Anyway, I don't like that part of town. The people there don't know how to have fun."

"And what about the people who live on this side of the bridge?" asked Person.

"You ask too many questions," said Falling. But Person continued anyway. He still had more questions to ask.

"Do the people who like to have fun talk to the people who don’t like to have fun?"

"Almost never," said Falling.

"So why does a bridge connect the two sides?"

"I guess they can't live without each other," said Falling doubtfully. "Now stop asking so many questions." Falling made no secret of being fed up.

Person wondered how he would be able to learn about things if he couldn't ask questions.

The wide path along the river turned into a narrow dirt road that twisted and turned up to the town. Those who lived just outside the town were walking their milk cows and goats back and forth between their farms and the market place. The streets and sidewalks were full of people. They were talking in loud voices, hurrying to and fro, walking with their elbows up, bumping into and pushing each other.

Falling, with Person immediately behind him, elbowed his way through the noisy crowd. Catching bits and pieces of conversation, Person listened to the people argue about who was the fastest, the strongest, the smartest, the richest and the prettiest. They didn't seem happy to have each other. "I'm a miracle," Person said to some of them as they passed by. "And so are you." But the townspeople didn't pay any attention to him.

They passed two elderly ladies who were sitting fearfully on a rickety old bench. One was eating a chocolate bar. Faster than the eye could see, Falling snatched the chocolate from out of the hands of the old lady. "That's my chocolate," she shouted to deaf ears.

"Now it's mine," Falling declared triumphantly. "And thank you very much, Madame." And in a gleeful, cackling voice, he turned to Person and said," we must always be polite and respect our elders, mustn't we?"

He bit off a chunk of the chocolate and passed it to Person who wouldn't accept it. "Come on. Taste it," urged Falling. Person hesitated before taking it, and then sunk his teeth into it. The chocolate melted in his mouth. He had never tasted anything so good. He took another bite and then another. He was enjoying his chocolate so much he didn't even hear the lady who was still crying after her chocolate. "Let me have a bite," said Falling, grabbing what remained out of Person's hand. It didn't last long.

"That disappeared fast," said Falling, with a satisfied look on his face. He threw the wrapper on the street. "But don't worry. There's lots more where that came from."

Person wished so hard there was more chocolate to eat he didn't bother to think about the people who had planted and harvested the chocolate beans or the others who worked all day long and turned the beans into tasty chocolate bars. He didn't even bother asking if chocolate grew in the ground or on trees.

They met up with a circle of people who were shouting and jostling each other. Falling and Person wedged their way into the circle.

Two people were fighting, throwing their fists at each other. One of the fighters grabbed the other by the hair, threw him to the ground, pounced on him like a tiger and then bit him in the ear. When the ear started to bleed, everyone clapped their hands and shouted their approval. "This is your lucky day," said Falling. "I haven't seen a good fight in a long while." Falling urged the fighter on the ground to get up and defend himself. Person joined the others in their merriment, and his voice sounded just like the other loud voices. He became so excited by the fight he could hardly hold himself back.

Almost everyone was scratching and throwing punches at everyone else when two policemen with clubs entered and broke up the fight. Everyone booed. The fighter with the bleeding ear began to shout insults at the policemen. He wanted to continue fighting. He wanted revenge. But the policemen stepped in between and separated the two fighters, and then ordered everyone to return to their work. Reluctantly, the crowd dispersed.

"Did you enjoy the fight?" asked Falling.

"I guess I did," answered Person, in an uncertain voice.

"I'll now take you to the bridge." Falling led Person along a narrow street that was cluttered with broken bottles, empty food cans and orange and banana peels. The smell was terrible. Men with dirty faces and torn clothing were walking up and down holding their hands out for food. Some of them were sleeping right on the sidewalk.

"Why don't these people have enough food to eat?" asked Person.

"You ask too many questions," replied Falling, with a sneer. They came to a long flight of steps that led to the bridge.

There were so many steps Person couldn't see to the top. He tried to count them, but he lost track. When they finally reached the top, both of them were puffing -- especially Falling. Person looked across the bridge. The wooden houses were indeed brighter on the other side, and the people were quieter and more orderly as they performed their daily chores.

"Can we go to the other side?" asked Person.

"I'll take you there," agreed Falling. "But you have to promise to do exactly as me. OK?"

"I promise," said Person. "But what do I have to do?"

"Watch me. And remember. You promised." Falling went to the bridge and climbed onto the narrow hand railing. He slowly stood up. There was nothing to hold onto. With his arms extended flat out to balance himself, he inched his way towards the other side.

The crowd that had gathered out of nowhere was fearful and silent. "If he falls into the rapids below, he will disappear forever," Person muttered to himself. "Or if he falls onto the sharp rocks he will surely hurt himself very badly."

At one point, Falling almost lost his balance and the onlookers let out a gasp. But he regained his balance and finally made it to the other side.

"Now it's your turn," shouted Falling from the other side of the bridge.

Person approached the railing. He was afraid. His legs felt rubbery. He hesitated. "Are you yellow?" someone in the crowd shouted. Person didn't know what to do. "Chicken, chicken," the crowd began yelling. "Promise breaker," another shouted.

Person couldn't break his promise, and yet he knew that the miracle that he was would disappear for ever if he lost his balance and fell into the rapids. He tried to think, but the noise of the people shouting made it impossible. He felt dizzy. Around him everything was a blur.

He had already climbed onto the narrow railing and had taken his first steps when he felt a friendly hand on his shoulder.

"You can decide not to walk across the railing," said a gentle voice.

"But I made a promise," replied Person, looking frightfully into the raging rapids below.

"Have you forgotten the miracle that you are?" the gentle voice reminded Person.

"No I haven't. But I haven't forgotten my promise either."

"Then you must choose between keeping the miracle that you are or keeping your promise. But remember. If you lose your balance and fall into the rapids, the miracle that you are will disappear forever."

Person looked down into the black waters that were surging over the sharp rocks. His heart was pounding. He placed his hand over his heart as if to calm himself, and felt the miracle of it beating inside him. He also felt on his shoulder the warm hand of the person beside him.

There was only one choice. He carefully climbed down from the railing. Falling and the mob were hurling insults at him and calling him names, but he didn't hear any of it. "My name is Care," was the only voice he heard. They clasped hands.

"I am thankful for showing yourself to me," said Person. "I had truly forgotten the miracle that I am. I might have fallen into the dark waters and disappeared forever." Person suddenly felt so bad inside he couldn’t look into Care's eyes. He felt himself grow smaller and smaller and wished there was somewhere he could hide. The name he gave to this feeling was Shame. He felt shame in forgetting that he was a miracle. "It's very easy to forget," he finally said, in a meek voice.

"I know," said Care. "Falling has forgotten the miracle that he is. And so have all his friends. It's important to choose the right friends."

"Can we cross the bridge together?" asked Person. "And we will not invite Falling, who will not be my friend," he announced.

"Falling isn't welcome in that part of town," explained Care. "But he goes there anyway. In fact, Falling is everywhere. He's in every town, in every forest, by every lake, along every path."

"Really," said Person, discouraged. "What can we do about him?"

"The only thing we can do is not to forget that he is always nearby. If we don't forget that, he can't do any harm." Person listened to Care's words.

"You came just in time, Care."

"And you made the right choice, Person."

"I hope we will become good friends," said Person.

"I would like that very much."

So together, hand in hand, Person and Care crossed the long bridge to the other side of town where all the houses and stores were painted in bright colors and the streets were clean and the people were friendly.


The first thing Person noticed was how quiet and peaceful it was on this side of town. "Back there," said Person, pointing with his thumb, "there was so much noise I couldn't think straight. In fact, I wasn't thinking at all. If you hadn't thought about me, I might have disappeared forever. I thank you for saving me, Care."

"You saved yourself," said Care. "You decided not to walk across the railing. I just helped you think straight."

"I'm glad you did," said Person, squeezing Care's hand. They continued walking down the main street of the town. They came to a park with a playground for children and a pond with ducks. They passed by two mothers who were watching over their children. "Good afternoon," said Care and Person.

"Good afternoon," offered the mothers. "Isn't it a lovely day?"

"It surely is," replied Care.

They soon found themselves in the middle of the park beneath a circle of huge chestnut trees and a water fountain from which they drank.

"What are you doing in these parts?" asked Care.

"I'm looking for Mr. Being."

"Excellent idea," said Care. "It's the best thing a person can do. Maybe I can help you find him. He's much closer than you think."

Person looked around him. "Can I see him from here?"

"Oh no," said Care, laughing. "No one can see Mr. Being. But you'll know him when you find him."

"But how can you know someone you can't see?" asked Person, confused.

"Do you know what it's like to be thirsty?" asked Care.

"You can be sure of that,” answered Person, recalling how thirsty he was before he discovered the lake."

"But can you see thirst?" asked Care. Person thought for a moment.

"I guess I can't," Person conceded.

"Which means you know what thirst is without having to see it."

"I guess that is so,” agreed Person, but not quite sure. “Is Mr. Being like that? You don’t have to see him to know him?”

"Now you're catching on," said Care, with an appreciative nod. "Which means you have learned something very important about Mr. Being. And the more you learn, the closer you are to finding him"

"How can I learn more?" asked Person.

"By continuing to ask questions and to remember that looking for Mr. Being is more important than everything else."

They continued walking through the town admiring the shapes and colours of the buildings and the tall trees that shaded the sidewalks.

They soon arrived at the school house which was empty because it was summer and everyone was on vacation. In the school yard they noticed a man beneath one of the chestnut trees. He was reading a book. "That's The Professor," said Care. They quietly approached him. "Good afternoon, Professor."

He didn't hear them. "Good afternoon, Professor," said Care in a louder voice. The Professor looked up, a little startled.

"Oh. My goodness. I must have been concentrating on this wonderful book that I'm reading for a second time. Good afternoon. Good afternoon my friends. Please sit down and enjoy the magnificent shade of this wonderful chestnut tree."

Care and Person sat down and leaned their backs against the tree's smooth trunk. They had been on their feet all day and it felt good to rest. Care then introduced the Professor and Person to each other. "Why are you still at school when everyone is on holidays?" asked Person.

"There's much to learn," answered The Professor. "Everyday is a school day for me," he laughed.

"You must know everything," volunteered Person.

"I'm afraid not," said The Professor. "The only thing I know for certain is that there is much more to learn."

"Do you know Mr. Being?" asked Person, hopefully.

"Why I'm reading about him at this very moment." The Professor held up his book. It was called WE ARE THE MIRACLE.

"Wow," said Person amazed. "A book about Mr. Being. Does the book tell where you can find him?"

The Professor didn't answer right away. "Well. Not exactly," he finally said. "But it tells you how you might go about looking for him."

"Does that mean I won't find him unless I read your book?"

Once again The Professor took his time before answering. "Let me put it this way," he began slowly. "You don't have to read this exact book to find him. But at the same time, you can't find him without words."

"I don't understand," said Person, confused.

"If you want to find Mr. Being," began the professor again, "you have to ask questions. For example, right now you are asking me questions about Mr. Being. And to ask questions you need words, right? Just try asking a question without words. You'll see it's impossible." Person tried to ask a question without words, but he couldn't. "Words are very important," continued the professor. "Without words we wouldn't be able to think about Mr. Being. Thanks to words, we are at this very moment speaking about Mr. Being. Try speaking without words." Person tried but he couldn't open his mouth.

"You're right, Professor. Without words we can't speak."

"Which should make us all thankful that there are words," added The Professor.

"How long have you been looking for Mr. Being?" asked Person.

"Ever since I can remember," answered The Professor.

"Don't you ever get tired looking for him," asked Person.

"Oh no," said The Professor. "Looking for Mr. Being makes waking up every morning very special."

The shadow cast by the tree was growing longer which meant there wasn't much daylight left. It was time to leave. Person and Care rose to their feet to say goodbye.

"Where will you go now?" asked The Professor.

"To look for Mr. Being, of course."

"May I suggest you visit a very old and dear friend of mine whom everyone calls Johnny A."

"Who is Johnny A?"

"He lives along the river. You'll know him by his long grey beard. He is also a very wise man."

"We'll go and see him right away, Professor. Thank you so much for the suggestion."

"I hope you will come and visit me again," invited The Professor." Your visit has made my afternoon very special."

"We will surely visit you again," said Person and Care in one voice. They shook hands with The Professor and continued on their way.


Person and Care followed the road out of town and found themselves walking along the banks of the winding river. Along these banks there wasn't much to eat: just a few berries. The rolling hills gave way to flatter country and the stream shrunk to a small trickle. "I don't see Johnny A. around here," said Person, in a tired voice. "And the sun is falling. That means night will soon arrive."

Care looked into the sun that was level with his eyes. Soon the sky would be full of colour. "I think we should rest up for tomorrow," suggested Care. They found a soft bed of grass near the stream which was protected from the wind by a semi-circle of berry bushes. Together they stretched out their tired legs and watched the sun disappear and the lower sky fill with dazzling colours. By the time night arrived they were both sound asleep.

When Person woke up the next morning, the light was pale blue and there was a gentle breeze in the air. He stretched out his arms legs. "I feel full of energy today," he announced. "Sleep makes this energy very special." But when he turned towards Care, he experienced a frightful shock. Care wasn't there. Person sprung to his legs and looked all around him. "Care," he shouted. "Care. Where are you?"

There was no answer. He shouted again, and again there was no answer. Like a balloon losing its air, Person felt his energy drain. He dropped himself onto a nearby flat stone. For a long time he just sat there, slumped, sad and alone.

For the first time ever he missed someone. He missed Care, and the loss brought tears to his eyes. Very sad thoughts filled the place where the loss was felt. That place was his heart.

Person had completely forgotten about looking for Mr. Being and Johnny A. Would he ever remember to look for them again?

With his head bowed, his shoulders drooping, his back hunched over, he wondered why Care disappeared without saying good bye. For a long time he just sat there, as lifeless as the stone on which he was sitting, when all of a sudden he heard a familiar voice. "Good morning, Person. You don't look very well this morning."

"Care. It's you," cried Person, jumping up in the air. "I'm so happy to see you. I thought you went away forever."

"I was downstream," explained Care. "I went to pick berries for breakfast. I had to go far because it's very dry in this area."

"I was afraid we would never see each other again."

"I would never leave you without saying good bye," assured Care. "That would mean I don't care for you and you know I care for you very much."

"Having thought I lost you forever, Care, makes me especially thankful that you're here. I'm glad we're together again."

"I'm glad you're glad," said Care. "Now let's eat these berries."

The berries were fat and sweet. After their breakfast, which turned their tongues blue, they drank from the stream and continued on their way.

They walked and walked until the stream completely dried up. They were now following a muddy river bed. On both sides of the bed the land was flat and dry. "Do you think the professor made a mistake?" asked Person. "Or maybe Johnny A. moved away. There's nothing here."

The hot sun was directly above them. They were both getting thirsty and their walk had slowed down to a turtle's pace. Suddenly Care stopped in his tracks. "What's that?" he asked, pointing in the distance.

"I don't know," said Person, straining his eyes to get a better look at the small red dots sparkling on the horizon. "Let's find out."

Their footsteps quickened. They soon noticed that the red dots were attached to the trees. And by the time their flowery scent had reached them, the dots had become round and full, and were big enough to held inside a hand.

Person reached up and picked one and brought it to his nose. It smelled fruity. "I think we can eat it," proposed Person. He bit into the fruit. It was juicy and tasty. "Hmmmmm." said Person. "It's delicious. Try one."

Care picked one and took a bite. "Hmmmmmmm. It ‘is’ delicious. Our thirst makes this juicy red fruit something very special." In silence they ate their newly discovered fruit.

The orchard was quite small. There were no more than a 100 trees. At the end of the orchard were many very small trees. And just back of these baby trees was an old man with a long, sparkling, grey beard and flaming white shirt bent over the earth. "That must be Johnny A. Let's go over and talk to him."

Care and Person went over to Johnny A. "Good afternoon, Johnny A. The professor in town sent us over to visit you. My name is Person and this is my good friend Care."

Johnny put down his bag and shook hands with his new friends. “Did you try The Apples?” asked Johnny.

"So that's what you have named them," said Person, approvingly. "The apples are delicious," said Person and Care in one voice.

"Are you here all by yourself?" asked Person.

"I receive many visitors," explained Johnny. "And when they go away I always think about them, so I'm never really alone."

"They must love your apples."

"Oh yes. And before they leave, I always invite them to take extra apples home with them so they can make apple pies and apple cakes."

Person scanned his eyes over the small orchard. "But if everyone picks extra apples, there won’t be enough left for everybody?"

"There will always be enough apples so long as everyone thinks of the others that will come after them. You can imagine what would happen if only one person picked all the apples for himself?"

"Everyone would disappear except for the person with all the apples. And it's no fun being a miracle all by yourself," announced Person.

"Exactly," said Johnny.

Johnny began to work the earth with his hoe. Care and Person observed the old man with great interest. His beard was so long it almost touched the ground when he bent over, and his face had so many wrinkles he looked ancient.

"What does the ‘A’ stand for in Johnny A?" asked Person.

Johnny chuckled. "You'll know what the 'A’ stands for when you get to know me better. Just keep watching." Person was curious.

"Will you tell me what's inside your bag?"

"You bet I will. This bag is full of apple seeds. Without seeds you can’t grow apple trees. First, with my hoe, I make a wedge in the earth like I'm doing right now; and then I plant the seeds and cover them. Look behind you. Those are baby apple trees. These seeds here will one day sprout into baby apple trees."

"How long does it take an apple tree to make apples?"

“A long time,” said Johnny, thoughtfully.

"How long?"

"I planted those fully grown trees just in the back of you when I was a young man. By the time they grew apples my beard was grey."

"That's a long long time," said Person.

He watched Johnny take the seeds out of the bag and place them carefully in the ground. When a row of seeds had been planted, he covered them with earth.

"Care and I would like to help you plant seeds, if that's OK with you?"

"I thank you for your kindness," said Johnny, very much pleased by their offer to help.

"It's our way of thanking you for thinking of us," said Person. "Thanks to you thinking of us a long long time ago, we now have delicious apples to eat." Care and Person took turns hoeing the earth while Johnny followed them planting seeds. While working, Person was thinking all sorts of apple thoughts when a question popped into his head.

"Tell me, Johnny," he began. "Aren't you too old to see those baby trees grow up into apple trees?"

"That's very true," said Johnny, pulling on his grey beard. "I'm an old man. But I'm old enough to know that there were other people here before me, and that there will be other people who will follow me. Those baby trees are for the others who will come after me, and that includes the others who haven't yet been born."

Care and Person were touched by Johnny's goodness. "You care very much for others, Johnny. Your caring makes these trees very special."

They continued to work through the afternoon. When the sun was too hot, Johnny invited his friends to join him in the middle of the apple orchard where he had built a small hut where he could eat and rest and stay dry when it rained.

Johnny brought out some apple bread which he shared with his friends. Care and Person bit into the bread. "This is the best apple bread I've ever eaten," said Person. After they had satisfied their hunger, they relaxed for a while. "I'll bet you're looking for Mr. Being," said Johnny, unexpectedly.

Person looked at old Johnny with astonishment. He seemed to know everything. "How do you know that?" asked Person, in disbelief.

"When you've been around as long as I, you learn a few things," said Johnny, with a look of amusement on his old, wise face.

"Do you know Mr. Being?", asked Person, doubtfully.

"I know where he is," said Johnny.

"Where? Where?" asked Person, his eyes opening wide, his voice trembling with excitement.

"Slow down now," said Johnny, holding up his hand. "Looking for Mr. Being isn't like looking for a mountain. He's different from everything you know, which means you can't look for him like you would for something you have lost. Let me tell you how I found him."

Johnny rolled up the sleeves of his shirt and smoothed his long, grey beard. Care and Person prepared themselves to listen. Johnny began: "The story goes like this.

"Like you, I, too, was once looking for Mr. Being. I went from place to place, from village to village, across mountains, rivers, valleys and fields. I braved the scorching heat of summer, the bitter cold of winter. I trudged through rain and mud and plodded through knee-high snow. But I just couldn't seem to find him even though I felt he was always nearby.

"Then one day I thought of all the people I had met during my travels and the kindness they showed me. Everywhere I went, good people offered me food and shelter and hope. The more I thought about all these good people, the more thankful I became. And then I realized I wanted to do something for them. I wanted to thank them. And that's when I decided I would plant apple trees.

"At first it was very hard work and it took many many years before the trees grew apples. But during those long years of waiting for the miracle of the apples to appear, I would think of the others who were waiting for the apples -- and it was there that Mr. Being showed himself."

"There?" said Person, confused. "Where is there?"

"It's in the thinking," said Johnny.

Person was baffled. And then he recalled the professor inviting him to think without words, but he couldn’t do it, his mind went blank, he couldn't think his thoughts.

Johnny continued. "I was thinking about all the others who had helped me during my travels, who were waiting for the apples to appear -- and that's when Mr. Being appeared."

Person was still puzzled, and then he remembered what Care had told him about Mr. Being: “You can't see him, but like hunger and thirst he's something you feel.”

"Now I know my story is a little hard to follow," said Johnny, sympathetically, "but I promise you that if you think hard enough, you, too, will find Mr. Being. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a little snooze before I return to my planting. I'm not as young as I used to be," he chuckled, and then crossed his arms over his long, grey beard and closed his eyes.

Person and Care watched him nap. His breathing was easy and restful; his face looked peaceful and contented. He's a very special person," said Care.

"He surely is," agreed Person.

Person and Care spent many days with Johnny. They just couldn't leave him. They worked hard and all day long. At night, Johnny would build a camp fire around which they would sit and listen to him talk about his life. But in his turn, Johnny was very curious about their adventures and asked them many questions.

Person told Johnny the story of how he came to be a person, and discovered that he was a miracle. Care told Johnny about Falling, and how Falling almost convinced Person to risk losing the miracle that he is by daring him to walk across the railing of the bridge.

Person and Care loved Johnny. When it came time for them to move on, they were very sad. Person had learned so many things about life from this gentle, grey-bearded man; he loved him as one loves a father. "Don't be sad," said Johnny, as they shook hands good bye. "You know how to remember, don't you?" Person's eyes filled with tears. "Things disappear when you forget them. Remembering brings them near. So when you want me near, all you have to do is remember me and I'll be with you. Now take this for your journey." Johnny handed Person a bag of apples and several loaves of freshly baked apple bread. Suddenly Person understood what the ‘A’ in Johnny A. stood for. He knew it as surely as he knew his own name.

"And don't forget to pay me a visit," Johnny Appleseed reminded them. "In about two months I'll need some help gathering apples which will fall to the ground if they're not picked up. There are many people who depend on these apples."

"Don't worry," promised Person. "You can depend on us. We will remember our promise."

Once again Care and Person took to the riverbed. When they looked back one last time, Johnny Appleseed was already back at work, hoeing the ground and planting seeds.

"It's nice to be able to remember," said Person.

"Yes," said Care. "Being able to think about Johnny when he's not here with us makes remembering very special."

"And we must remember to continue looking for Mr. Being," added Person. "I have a feeling that he is very near."

They followed the muddy river bed until it completely dried and they found themselves in the open prairie. The sky began to darken and the wind picked up.


It was a very cold day. The sky was low and grey and a strong wind was slashing across the open prairie, making the burnt grass ripple like waves. Once the wind almost blew Care's hat away. Person's hands were buried deep in his pockets. He wished he had something to protect his ears which were turning blue with cold.

It began to rain. The cold rain drenched their coats and pants. Person's teeth began to chatter. "How far to go?" he asked.

"Not too far," answered Care, doubtfully. They were going to visit Care's friends in the village.

"Are you sure it's not far?" There was no answer.

The driving rain thudded against the ground, turning it into mud which stuck to their shoes. Their every step was slow and heavy. They plodded on, silently, each thinking about the village which was nowhere to be seen.

Suddenly a blast of cold air arrived and the rain drops turned into huge white snow flakes. A few minutes later the ground was buried under a blanket of snow.

Care's teeth began to chatter and he, too, buried his hands in his pockets. "A day like today makes remembering summer very special," he said.

"That's for sure," replied Person. "I think today is the first day I have really loved summer."

They fell silent, listening to their shoes trudge through the deep snow.

The snow was falling so fast and thick they couldn't see more than a few steps ahead. "My toes are going numb," declared Person.

"So are mine," said Care.

The road which led to the village had long since disappeared. The snow grew deeper and deeper. It was almost up to their knees. Each step was more difficult than the one before. They were both breathing heavily. It was so cold they were puffing steam out of their mouths. Person was certain they were lost because their road was lost somewhere under the snow.

They plodded along slowly, fitfully, fearfully, afraid they would become so cold they wouldn't be able to move. Gusts of blowing snow made it difficult to see. They were in a blizzard.

Then, without warning, Person tripped over something and fell face first into the snow. For a moment he just lay there, too stunned to get up. He thought about how nice it would be to fall asleep and rest for a while. "Are you OK?" asked Care, hurrying over to help. He pulled Person out of the snow and up onto his feet. Person, still dazed, waited for his head to clear, and then shook the snow off his hair, jacket and pants.

"I'm OK – I think. I wonder what I tripped over?"

"Let's find out." They both began scooping away the snow around an object that showed itself to be the top part of an evenly cut log. “It might be a fence," said Care, cautiously. “Let’s keep digging.” Excited, they scooped and scooped as fast as they could until they uncovered a second, evenly cut log. “It’s a fence,” he cried. “This must be the beginning of the village. We have finally arrived."

They both breathed a huge sigh of relief. Through the blizzard, they could see just ahead of them what looked like the grey shadows of houses and their slanted roofs.

They had already started off in the direction of the village when they heard a strange cry. They stopped and listened. It was a cry for help and it wasn't a human cry. Again the cry sounded, rising above the howling wind. Person turned his ear towards the cry, and then his eye found what his ears were hearing. "Look over there," he pointed. "It's a sheep. It must be stuck in deep snow. Let's help free it."

But just then another shape appeared and walked right by the crying sheep, not caring a hoot that it was in distress. The shape was bundled up in a sheepskin coat, but they recognized the black hat that was slanted across one eye. It was Falling.

"I don't believe my eyes," said Person, dumbfounded. "Falling is wearing a sheepskin coat and he isn't even thankful to the poor sheep who grew his coat."

"Falling is never thankful," said Care. "Falling has forgotten how to be thankful."

They waited for him to pass out of sight before going over to help the sheep.

The sheep was stuck in a deep snow drift. Together, Care and Person cleared away the snow from around the fearful sheep and pulled him free. The sheep then made a sheep-sound that sounded like a ‘thank-you.’ It was now free to find its way back to its flock.

Person and Care entered the village. In the center, it was easier to walk because the village people were already shoveling the streets and sidewalks. Care and Person thanked each and everyone of them as they passed by.

They finally arrived at a bright red and white house. The roof was covered with a furry cap of snow that hung over the edge. Smoke was curling out of the brick-coloured chimney.

They walked up to the house. Through the front window they saw wood burning in the fireplace. But they didn't see any people.

Care knocked on the door and waited. No one answered. Care and Person just looked at each other. "I don't understand," said Care, in a downcast voice. "Where is everybody?"

He was about to knock again when the door suddenly opened by itself, but there was no one there. The two of them just stood there, not knowing what to do. Then, from behind the door, a chorus of voices shouted: "Happy Birthday, Care. Happy Birthday. Surprise surprise."

Care's friends burst out from behind the door, releasing a bunch of balloons, blowing whistles and clapping their hands. Care embraced his friends and introduced them to his good friend Person.

They led Care and Person into the living room while singing happy birthday. Care was happy to be with his old friends. He was happy they remembered him while they helped him and Person get out of their wet clothes. "Come and sit by the fireplace and warm your feet," someone suggested.

Everyone gathered round the fire. "This fire is nice and warm," said Care. "But what is truly warm when it’s cold outside is other people. Warmth happens when people think of and care for each other. I thank you all for thinking of me, for remembering my birthday. Today is the day when I first appeared as a miracle. But it wouldn't be any fun if it couldn't be shared with other miracles. Your being here makes my birthday very special."

Someone rolled in a huge chocolate cake that was decorated with swirls of icing shaped into flowers. Again everyone sang Happy Birthday. "But we can't eat it until you blow out all the candles," they said all together. Care went up to the cake, filled his lungs, and blowing with all his might he blew out each and every candle. Everyone clapped and cheered. Care then cut everyone a big piece of cake, serving himself last.

The cake was moist and chocolatey. They ate slowly, savouring every bite, trying to make it last as long as possible.

When they finished, Care's friends gathered around him and asked him to tell them about his travels. Care's friends were happy to see him. And Person was happy that Care was enjoying the company of his old friends.

Person felt very close to Care. He loved him as he would love a brother. He remembered how Care had saved him from Falling, and how they met the Professor and Johnny Appleseed together.

While he was thinking about all of these things, a feeling of thankfulness came over him. He was thankful for everything that had happened to him, especially the day he discovered he was something and not a nothing; and that there were other persons in the world beside himself. He felt his heart beating with happiness, when he suddenly jumped up and shouted: "I've found him, I've found him, I've found Mr. Being."

Everyone stopped and looked. "He's right here. He's right here," said Person, pointing to himself. "Mr. Being is right here, inside of me. I am Mr. Being, and you are Mr. Being. When we find him we are all Mr. Being." Everybody started to clap.

"Bring Person and Mr. Being another piece of cake," someone shouted.

"And I'll put a scoop of ice cream on top," another volunteered. Care went over to Person and embraced him.

"You knew all along, didn't you Care?"

"Of course I knew all along," said Care, his eyes twinkling. "But I also know that no one can find him for you. Every person must find Mr. Being for himself. And he's the most difficult person to find because he's so close. He's right inside all of us."

"Yes," said Person, thoughtfully. "I was looking everywhere but inside myself. And then, just now, I was thinking of how your friendship with me was so special, and how thankful I was that it showed itself to me -- and that's when I felt Mr. Being inside of me."

"Yes." said Care. "Thinking and thanking and Mr. Being are so close together you can't separate them.” Person listened carefully to Care's words.

"Now that you have found Mr. Being, it's important that you don't forget about him. Because if you do forget for too long, he'll disappear and you might never find him again."

"I won't lose him," promised Person.

The birthday party continued into the night. Only when the last of the logs had turned into glowing red embers did everyone finally fall asleep in front of the fireplace.

The next morning they prepared to leave.

Care and Person said good bye to everybody and thanked them for the wonderful birthday party. They all agreed to meet again soon.


Person and Care were once again in the open country. "Now that I have found Mr. Being, what do you think I should do now?" asked Person.

"Didn't you once tell me that it is no fun being a miracle all by yourself."

"I do remember telling you that."



"The same goes for Mr. Being. If Mr. Being is a miracle, it's no fun being alone in finding him, is it?"

"You're right," said Person. "We must help other people find Mr. Being."

"Unfortunately," continued Care. "There are many people who aren’t even looking for him because they don't know he exists."

"That means we had better spread the news that Mr. Being is alive and well -- and really close by,” said Person in a serious voice.

"And we had better begin right away,” added Care. “There are so many people who haven't even heard of Mr. Being."

Late that afternoon they came to a lake. It looked familiar. "I know this lake," said Person, scratching his head. "A long time ago it saved me from drying up and disappearing. My oldest friends live nearby. How would you like to meet Mr. and Mrs. Other and their two children? After myself, they were the first miracles I met."

"I would love to meet them," said Care.

In the near distance, they could now see the magnificent forest. Its deep green colour was peaceful and inviting. Smoke from the Other's chimney was rising above the tops of the trees.

Suddenly they heard a sharp noise behind them. Person looked back over his shoulder. "Oh no," he cried. "It's Falling. I wonder what he wants?"

"Don't worry about him," reassured Care. "Falling is everywhere. As long as you don't forget he is always nearby, he can't do any harm. It's when you forget about him trouble begins."

They continued along the way.

Soon after, accompanied by the warbling of birds and the song of wind rustling the leaves, Person and Care entered the sunlit forest. And before long, the wonderful smell of Mrs. Other's freshly baked bread reached their noses. And by and by, they could hear the happy voices of the Other children playing outside.


© Robert J. Lewis

also by Robert J. Lewis:
Death Wish 7 Billion
My Gypsy Wife Tonight
On the Origins of Love & Hate
Divine Right and the Unrevolted Masses
Cycle Hype or Genotype
The Genocide Gene





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