Virgil thought of how sometimes he would allow Tiff to touch the bell of his saxophone while he played. How young and fragile was the deaf-mute, teenage boy. How in some ways he reminded him of Willie, his long dead, younger brother. Of how he and Willie would go down to the rock, the oracle, and listen to the wind. And how, sometimes, he would just sit quietly, and watch, as Willie would close his eyes, and let the music filtering out from the rock light his wondrous imagination, and then . . . smile.

Willie was going to be a writer. He loved Melville and Twain. By the time he was seventeen he had read MOBY DICK five times. And like Twain, he had ventured out on the river, the Mississippi, to learn how to "read" the water. But for Willie, the oracle was going to be his key, his great white whale, his big river. It was going to teach him all there was to know about the wind, the earth, the sky, and how man fit into it all. Willie wanted to bring the great hunt, and the river onto land;spread them out across the vast, lonely wilderness that lived inside all men. And somehow, through the song of the oracle, he was going to find the music--the knowledge within the sound--the deciphered code that would direct him to the place where dreams pause, where they wait like a mother keeping a vigil for her wayward child, where they wait until someone figures out a way to call out for them. It was his "porch of the impossible," he liked to say.