Ten Miracles I Usually Take for Granted

  1. My heartbeat. The sound of blood pumping through my veins, letting me breathe, move, think, type, run, read, dance, live. This could also be "my brain," or "my stomach," or "my eyes," or "my little toe" -- the human body in general.
  2. Photosynthesis.
  3. Bread, cheese, and beer/wine. All of which required some primitive man or woman saying "Hey! Let's take this stuff, let it ferment for a while, and then consume it!" Bread especially amazes me, as it involves first grinding up the seeds of a random plant, then adding the fermented stuff and other ingredients, then figuring out how to bake it . . . So many little steps in each piece of sourdough.
  4. Electricity.
  5. The telephone. I just finished Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, the second book in the Temeraire series, where Will Laurence and the dragon Temeraire go to China in 1806 and do not receive any mail from England for three months because everything has to be carried over land and sea. Also today I spoke to people in the U.K., Minnesota, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Brooklyn, in real time, exchanging up-to-date news -- some of it over cell phones, which meant the calls went through space!
  6. Flight. Also in Throne of Jade, it takes them five months to travel by boat around Cape Horn and across the Indian Ocean. On Wednesday I'll get on a plane in New York; six hours and three thousand miles later, I'll be in California. Deeply weird and cool.
  7. The Internet. Fifteen years ago, virtually none of this existed, and now there are communities for every conceivable topic, some of them connecting millions of people.
  8. People playing guitar. And other instruments too, but ever since I tried "Guitar Hero" a few weeks ago and took three tries to get through one Beginner-level song, I've been obsessed/impressed by people who play guitar: They can move their fingers into all those different patterns for different sounds! And strum at the same time! And some of them sing as well! Incredible.
  9. Language. You can read this and understand what I'm thinking. Enough said.
  10. Love and friendship. These people were at this place at the exact right time to meet me, and we said and did the just-right things to connect, and now I'd do anything for them. It's wonderful.