Anthony Doerr on Miracles

Last week in Orion magazine, one of my favorite essayists, Anthony Doerr wrote the below.  Enjoy.

“What are miracles? Miracles are avocados in winter and starling swarms and the handwriting of children. They’re bridges that let trucks carrying toilet paper for thousands zip across uncrossable rivers and books that contain the voices of the dead.

“Once, my scientist brother showed me a housefly under an electron microscope. Savannahs of small hairs grew out of the fly’s nose. Rows of perfect domes arced over each compound eye. There was as much intricacy in a barb on one of the fly’s legs as there is in a Shakespearean sonnet.

“The towels in my hotel room are deeply, amazingly white. The lotion smells like paradise.

“We sit for a minute on the bed, my caveman and I, dusk on Miracle Day, the lamps off, and watch the Seattle skyline bloom out of the fog. Gulls cry invisibly. Out there, beyond my windows, people are eating ground-up cows from Argentina. They’re reading Whitman:Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from the jambs! They’re building towers of glass, dreaming of mackerel, studying gridlock, falling in love. Above us, above the mist, 50 sextillion Earth-like planets swing around 50 sextillion Sun-like suns. Galaxies fly away from us. Mica glitters on a trillion rocks.

“My telephone rings, and I study it for a moment before answering. It’s as much curse as marvel: a wafer of glass and plastic that embodies rare mineral mining, carbon emissions, slave labor. And yet, when I answer, my sons want to show me, in real-time, the snow falling in our backyard five hundred miles away.

“They hold the phone out into the darkness. I can just make out clumps of flakes falling on the foothills. Everything, if you study it closely enough, is a miracle.”

Here’s the link if you want to read the whole thing.

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2 comments
  1. Polly Pitsker said:

    Thank you!

  2. Tina Lilly said:

    Wow. This. Is. Beautiful.
    Thanks Katrina.

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