Miracle. All of It.

For the purposes of the book, Robin, who desperately believes in the sanctity of life beyond himself, begs his father for these nighttime, bedtime stories, and Theo gives him easy travel to other planets. Father and son going to a new planet based on the kinds of planets that Theo’s science is turning up and asking this question, what would life look like if it was able to get started here? And what would that change in our sense of who we are and where we’ve been dropped down?

And they make this journey across the universe through all kinds of incubators, all kinds of petri dishes for life and the possibilities of life. And rather than answer the question — so where is everybody? — it keeps deferring the question, it keeps making that question more subtle and stranger. And I wasn’t sure where I would go with this ultimately in the book. And one thing I kept thinking about that didn’t make it into the final book but exists as a kind of parallel story in my own head is the father and son on some very distant planet in some very distant star, many light years from here, playing that same game. And the father saying, OK, now imagine a world that’s just the right size, and it has plate tectonics, and it has water, and it has a nearby moon to stabilize its rotation, and it has incredible security and safety from asteroids because of other large planets in the solar system.

Imagine that everything happens just right so that every square inch of this place is colonized by new forms of experiments, new kinds of life. And the father trying to entertain his son with the story of this remarkable place in the sun just stopping him and saying, Dad, come on, that’s asking too much. Get real, that’s science fiction. That’s the vision that I had when I finished the book, an absolutely limitless sense of just how lucky we’ve had it here.

— Richard Powers, from Ezra Klein’s Podcast Interview titled “This Conversation With Richard Powers Is a Gift.” (September, 28, 2021, The New York Times)

Notes: (1) The podcast and/or transcript is long but worthy.  (2) Post title 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. (3) Photo Credit


  1. we have no idea how lucky

    Liked by 3 people

  2. So very lucky, and as with so many other things, I fear most will not realize the precious nature of this gift until they have lost it. And we are pushing ourselves closer to the brink with every passing day. 😥

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A mind boggling post … ending with the truth!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just started this book (and the quote from Rachel Carson in the beginning made me think of your photos)…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. On the eve of your 10 year anniversary of blogging, thank you, David! Although I’m a latecomer, I’ve enjoyed the daily photos, commentary, links and videos. You’ve delighted us with your personal experiences, frustrations, joys and musings. My reading life has been wonderfully augmented and my vision enlarged by amazing book recommendations. Thank you for all of this. My wife and I are grateful for what you share with us. 🔟🥂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for giving us more Richard Powers, I just happened to turn on PBS and saw him (love it when I’m moved to do something like that). …have an unlimited sense of how lucky I can be when tuned in!

    Liked by 1 person

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