It’s an Easter miracle! Part three lives!
“They really are unusual birds. They are birds, right?” Katherine was experiencing a rare moment of unguarded surprise and delight.
Walter, who had for the most part correctly summed up Kati as someone who made it a point to rarely be amazed at anything was enjoying her obvious enjoyment and was quietly surprised at his own enjoyment.
This is not to say Katherine didn’t enjoy the experience of genuine amazement when it occurred, but she refused to be one of the silly girls who expressed amazement at every commonplace occurrence.
“Oh this tea is absolutely amazing…This dress is completely indescribable…You are the most amazing man I’ve ever met…”
Jonathan for his part was enjoying the ostriches as he always did, having renewed his acquaintance with one he had dubbed Oscar. He was positively giddy with amusement that Oscar seemed to have taken an unusual fascination with Katherine, following them throughout their tour making the characteristic low gulping noise that amused Jonathan so much.
Jonathan was having a very good day in fact. He loved Kati, and always enjoyed his time with Walter, and he was finding the meeting of these two friends as much fun as he’d hoped. He had counted on a bit of sparring between them and for most of the day had not been disappointed. Two people so confident in their own personal philosophies he had never known and yet so different in their approaches, so it had of course been his first thought to get them together just to watch the result. All these things were providing him with much enjoyment, but it was his secret plan that had him chuckling to himself most throughout the tour. Absent-mindedly he patted his pocket feeling the paper he’d held there all day.
Now they were relaxing inside Walter’s ranch home (not a place he actually ever habitated, but rather the location where he entertained guests and visitors, as now). They were seated on comfortable chairs, Jonathan’s parlor guitar held loosely on his lap, having just finished a demonstration (which did not “amaze” Katherine, but which she enjoyed, and even Walter had applauded.)
Katherine’s comment had been prompted by Oscar, who was mewing and gulping outside the window, pining, as Jonathan continually suggested, for Katherine.
“Yes,” answered Walter, “they are unusual birds, indeed, but you are changing the subject. I asked you to give any proof, any example in your life or anyone else’s which justifies your belief that our lives are anything but whims of fate or God if you prefer.” (this latter part to Jonathan.)
“Oh I do prefer,” said Jonathan. “I always prefer God to fate. To a God I can express gratitude, I can make requests, and I can understand the why behind the blessings I’ve received. Because a God can have motives, personality and designs. Fate is nothing, only an idea, or an idea of an idea, a shadow really.”
Katherine shook her head, “Jonathan, that’s your problem. You claim to be subject to a benevolent God, while Walter claims to be enslaved by an impersonal fate, but neither of you takes credit for your own attitude or decision. You, Jonathan, think yourself lucky or blessed, but make your own luck. Then, Look at Walter here. He’s got the whole world in his hands, an entire town just waiting to be claimed, and he turns from it. Cursed he may be, but only by his own insistence on it.”
Now it was Walter’s turn to shake his head, “It may seem foolish to you. I understand that indeed it must seem so, but I say it is foolish instead to stubbornly deny the evidence before you when there is a lifetime of it all leading to an inescapable truth. We are not masters of our fate. Your life, Katie, shows an ability to control your fate, to twist destiny to your whims, but you do not realize this is not your own strength and wisdom, but is only evidence that fate itself has smiled on you to allow such an illusion of control.”
Jonathan and Kati were both shaking their heads now, but Walter pressed on, “After all, ask yourself about the things beyond your control. What if a sudden illness, say scarlet fever were to strike you, or a natural disaster were to destroy your home…”
“Than I would recognize such things happen and I would do whatever was necessary to claim my life from whatever remained. I would refuse to bow to any notion of “curse” or even God (Sorry Jonathan, you know how I feel.).”
Walter appraised Kati, nodding slightly
“Perhaps you would…at first, but what if this happened again and again? At some point, even you would have to acknowledge that no amount of “claiming your life” would suffice. You believe what you believe because no evidence exists to truly contradict your notion. Jonathan too.“
“But what about you?” Kati persisted, “Here you lead a life of fortune and blessing most people would be delighted to own and yet you persist in this odd notion of a curse spite of evidence, not because of it.”
Walter said nothing but that strange look of sorrow passed briefly over Walter’s face like a shadow and Katherine suddenly forgot the thread of her argument, slowing to a halt. She had been presumptive which in itself did not bother her. She was often presumptive, she knew, but she rarely regretted it. But now she wondered, what she had missed. Something important, she thought.
Jonathan did what he did best into awkward silences…he erased them, rushing blindly in, pretending not even to notice, but Katherine, who knew him well, knew this was an intentional blindness, a willful ignoring. Sometimes Katherine disliked Jonathan’s penchant for denial, but in moments like this when everyone wanted an excuse to look away, it proved a useful skill.
“Absolutely perfect. I knew getting you together would be better than a night at the theater. But tonight is about more important things than merely amusing me.”
Katherine looked genuinely surprised, “Is it now? It is ever really?”
Jonathan laughed good naturedly, “Oh yes, I didn’t bring you two together just to watch you spar. No, I’ve brought us together to do a test, to prove a point even.”
Katherine narrowed her eyes and Walter sighed, “What are you talking about?”
“We have an opportunity, we three, to test our philosophies, to see which one wins. A competition of conviction, as it were.” Jonathan chuckeld.
Walter sighed again, “I say again, what are you talking about?”
With a flourish Jonathan pulled a paper from his pocket and unfolded it with an air of drama. Once it was unfolded he waited. Katherine knew they would wait all night until someone asked so she said,
“What is that Jonathan? What is your plan?”
“Well, we have an opportunity here to put our ideas to the test. Walter insists he is cursed, you insist that you are in control, and I insist that providence is our friend. This paper is a unique opportunity to prove one of our philosophies and disprove the others. Only one of us can be right and this paper will show us which one.”
Walter suddenly looked tired, “Jonathan, I’m really not in the mood.”
“Jonny, maybe this really isn’t the time. It’s been a long day.”
Jonathan looked slightly and momentarily defeated, unsure how to press on.
The knock at the door startled them all.
“Who the blazes?” said Walter as he went to open it. When he did, Oscar shoved his way in, making those strange noises and moving directly to Katherine. Bending his long neck he nuzzled her hand with his beak, as if seeking food. Katherine looked surprised and without really thinking about it, scratched the top of his oddly shaped head. He leaned into her like a puppy.
Jonathan laughed, “I think you’ve been adopted, Katherine. Well, it just so happens that we may need Oscar’s help in our plan. But of course, we can talk about it more tomorrow. After all Landry’s mine’s not going anywhere soon.”
Walter sat up straighter, looked Jonathan right in the eye and said, one more time, but this time with steel instead of a sigh,”What are you talking about?”
Katherine noted the interest with which Walter now approached and asked herself, “Jonny, What are you talking about?”
Jonathan smiled, “That’s my plan. We’re going to see who can find Landry’s mine.”
Walter snorted, “That’s a myth. There is no such mine.”
Walter turned to Katie, “Landry’s mine is a gold mine of legendary proportions around here. My own father claimed to have seen the deed once upon a time. It’s said that with that mine, Landry could have owned this town himself instead of my father. Legend says it shut down years ago,and Landry himself disappeared but no one knows why. People have looked for it but no one has ever found it. It just doesn’t exist.”
Jonathan’s eyes glittered, “What if I told you I had proof right here,“ he waved the paper in front of them, “ No one else has been able to find it, cause no one else knew where to look.”