“Would you do me a camomile tea please?” she asked. “There are a couple of tea-bags in there.” She passed him a paper bag which also contained some small cakes that she had baked early that morning. They were still warm, and their scent of their flavour rose from the bag as he opened it.
“They look and smell delicious,” he said, “Milk and sugar?”
“Neither thanks – I only use them with normal tea bags. I just felt like a change,”
He showed her through to his Living Room, then returned to busy himself in the kitchen.
He had a through room, similar to her hers, with patio doors at the rear of the house overlooking the garden. She observed that everywhere was clean and tidy, but she had the impression that nothing much had probably been changed in essence since Marjorie’s departure. The rooms lacked a woman’s touch. The curtains looked as if they’d been there forever. There were no flowers and little by the way of photographs or ornaments to indicate the owner’s personality.
The exception was the bookcases in the dining room. She stood and walked to have a look at his taste in reading – the Librarian in her couldn’t resist. One set of shelves was populated by hard-backed textbooks. Some books she had expected – those related to teaching and education plus the textbooks about economics, politics and economic history. There were lots of theological texts plus commentaries, church histories, bibles, hymn books and prayer books. Those were next to books about philosophy and the history of thought. Some other textbooks though came as a surprise. These were mainly to do with modern scientific topics – subjects including mathematics, quantum physics and cosmology.
She was impressed. The next set of bookshelves carried only paperback books – but here again there was a variety, including recent novels, poetry, politics, travel, gardening and maps. She was having difficulty trying to understand Steve through what he chose to read. All these books could have been to impress but she could see the bookmarks sticking out of many of them. She could also see that, although many were recent editions, they had clearly been read. Their spines were creased, and they fell open easily – as books do when used. She’d never heard him before actively involved in any discussions other than about religion. He obviously had hidden depths.
While she was holding one of the books Steve returned from the kitchen. He placed the tray that he had brought onto the dining room table.
“You are a conundrum,” she said, “That’s a fascinating library you have there.”
“Well,” he said, “I had hoped that we could learn more about each other if we met and talked more often.”
Cathy agreed that would be lovely, but as they chose cakes and sipped their teas, she brought him back to the idea he had raised last week – “the other side of the problem.”
“You suggested that the nature of the universe, and I would guess, the possibility of a Creator, only matters to us because we are thinking beings. You questioned the idea of free-will in the context of evolution. You asked whether I believed in fate. You ended, I seem to remember, questioning whether Evolution had an agenda – but one in a larger scheme of things – whose aim is to bring about a class of beings capable of understanding that purpose. Finally, you asked an implied question as to why this development should take place on a relatively tiny piece of cosmic dust – located at an unbridgeable distance from anywhere else in space and, in any case, doomed to be destroyed by our dying Sun.”
“Wow!” he said, “Were you taking minutes?”
She laughed, “No, but I have often wondered about exactly the same ideas, so I didn’t need to write them down – and I was delighted that you have not limited your thoughts to a religious solution.”
“Tell me though,” she continued, “Why me? I know that you’ve spoken to the Wilsons and to your vicar, but you seem to have felt that you owed me an explanation too.”
My opening photo today, is one that you may remember from yesterday’s post – Steve’s house – the scene of Cathy’s visit.
For a featured photograph I’ve again chosen one from August 2018 that I took of the Milky Way from Ynys Llanddwyn, Anglesey, Wales, UK. I felt that the shot fitted in with Cathy’s summary agenda.
EXIF data were: I took the photo using my Pentax K50 16 MP cropped sensor dslr camera with a Sigma 10-20 mm f/3.5 lens. The shutter speed was 25 seconds @ f/3.5 and 20 mm. The ISO was 6400.