Miracle. All of it.

“We’ll keep the tub moist and free of weeds for the next six years. When you turn sweet sixteen, we’ll weigh the tree and the soil again.” She hears him (her Father), and understands…

In the summer of her eighteenth year, preparing to head to Eastern Kentucky to study botany, she remembers the beech growing in its tub of soil, out by the barn. Shame rushes through her: How could she have forgotten the experiment? She has missed her promise to her father (who has since passed away) by two years. Skipped sweet sixteen altogether. She spends an entire July afternoon freeing the tree from the soil and crumbling every thimble of dirt from its roots. Then she weighs both the plant and the earth it fed on. The fraction of an ounce of beechnut now weighs more than she does. But the soil weighs just what it did, minus an ounce or two.

There’s no other explanation: almost all the tree’s mass has come from the very air.

Her father knew this. Now she does, too.

~ Richard Powers, The Overstory: A Novel


  • Photograph: Elena Shen with “Shades of Green” (Beech Tree)
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.
  • Inspiration: Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”


  1. sheer and utter beauty. What a gr8 and wise father.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. makes me think of Thomas Pakenham’s books…. and makes me also think that we should learn to listen more to nature, our trees….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, so true. and your comment reminds me of:

      Some things will never change. Some things will always be the same. Lean down your ear upon the earth and listen.

      The voice of forest water in the night, a woman’s laughter in the dark, the clean, hard rattle of raked gravel, the cricketing stitch of midday in hot meadows, the delicate web of children’s voices in bright air–these things will never change.

      The glitter of sunlight on roughened water, the glory of the stars, the innocence of morning, the smell of the sea in harbors, the feathery blur and smoky buddings of young boughs, and something there that comes and goes and never can be captured, the thorn of spring, the sharp and tongueless cry–these things will always be the same.

      ~ Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

      Liked by 8 people

  3. what an incredibly powerful lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was ever so glad she finally did what her father wanted, even if it was two years later.
    What an amazing lesson he gave her

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ohhhh this shimmers! And the Wolfe passage, too. Perfection all the way around…

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Such a sweet parent child story of appreciation! Then, think of my own children and how I’m amazed when I hear some positive acknowledgment… Such beauty in nature shared by these poetic artists,…and also such devastation all over the planet right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. And that is a miracle. All of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    NATURE … all of it is a miracle, yes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I saw this earlier today and sent it to my father. He said, “Now you know!”

    Love it…

    Liked by 3 people

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