No less than life herself

Mauri Favaron
Posted February 17, 2011 from Italy

I thought hard, before writing this. I tried to isolate a single topic moment, unexpected and marvellous, unveiling new worlds, or gifting a luminous pearl for me, me only.

But despite my attempts, I wasn't able to choose. I may say of the moment when, I was two years old, my dad told me I had a little brother. Or when, after years of life, I discovered the colors of life in a landscape I had seen already many hundreds times. Or the incredible wisdom in the first understandable words of the child of a friend...

They are too many, however, and all of them stand out, their own way, so I feel really impossible to name one "the" miracle.

But, let me stop for a moment thinking hard, and let's contemplate.

All these miracles have one thing in common, life itself.

Life, uniting all of us in a single plot.

Life, so accidental and mysterious.

We perceive its ebb and flow over and over, month after month, until a new phase discloses. It's life red of blood and flesh. And it seems to us so inevitable, so powerfully strong.

But look down, in the little. Let's step, if we can, to the minuscule germs of life in any cell, in its mysterious organelles. Down, down more, until the complex texture of molecules.

Then, after you imagine having all dissected, you astonish in front of a phenomenon which, physically, "should not exist". Life propagates along the deep time of Earth evolution, every moment changing, and so close to itself.

Life is a wonderful absurdity. It's the only process in the Universe which is able to create more and more order, against the path traced by the Second Principle of Thermodynamic.

Every nanosecond in our life cycles not less complex than the whole dance with the Moon deploy silently and... My goodness, they work! I'm still alive, while imagining so. I shouldn't be, according to the tendency of matter to evolve towards a dumb, cold, meaningless chaos.

But stones themselves, their calm way, participate to life. They too move in circles, deep in the mantle, then up in the crust, until exhumed, crushed and displaced by erosion. To mold other rocks, somewhere else. And to return, once more, to the safe, chtonic deep somewhere. Over and over. Unimaginably so.

How not to deeply love this all?

And how not to admire, in awe, this enormous, tiny, eternal, instantaneous miracle?

Yours, Mauri

My Story: Miracles

Comments 6

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  • Obisakin Busayo
    Feb 27, 2011
    Feb 27, 2011

    You are a good poet Mauri and i really appreciate your words.

    Love Busayo

  • Mauri Favaron
    Feb 28, 2011
    Feb 28, 2011

    Wish I really devise your warm encouragement! ;-)

    Isn't that life herself "inspires"? I owe many words to her, and Nature in general.

    Of the many natural phenomena, life is in my feeling the least known. Sure, it has been explored, and we are beginning to appreciate some of its innards.

    But on the other side, billion years of evolution, change, lifes, heritage... They are so big, so incomprehensible a thing with reason only.

    However. I feel a way "is", by using reason "and" any-other-thing we are, heart included...

    Thank you again, my dear sister.



  • Myrthe
    Feb 28, 2011
    Feb 28, 2011

    Wonderful imagery! Your words flow like water!

  • Mauri Favaron
    Feb 28, 2011
    Feb 28, 2011

    I'm pleased my words gave you a crumble of a good moment.

    Maybe, I'll try some other times, but I can't guarantee the result... ;-)

    Sometimes I happen to reflect why our Western culture was so fond of defining "nature", and life by extension, as "the something outside the village, the 'polis' of civilization"... We lost something, in this process. Something important, not just a pearl to warm our hearts, but also "words".

    We try with "reductionistic" answers to the phenomenon of life (and we should, for sure, in view of "knowing" something). But I feel we need other levels of knowledge, in addition to this.

    We may imagine to "know" life down to the last atom, the very tiniest biochemical reaction, yet I fell I don't full "understand" it.

    But I'm longing to. Just an attempt! ;-)


  • akaneko
    Feb 28, 2011
    Feb 28, 2011

    I echo the words in the comments above - you have a beautiful way with words! I agree that there are so many miracles in life and the amazing aspects of life itself are somehow often overlooked. Your story allows us to step back and look at the larger picture, it helps us appreciate everything about life!

  • Mauri Favaron
    Mar 01, 2011
    Mar 01, 2011

    Thank you dear!

    Hope your warm appreciation is well posed ;-)

    You're right, that towards life is a feeling of "appreciation", which includes, but not reduces to, rational level.

    And, its nature of "process", of continuous change. The details may seem quite mechanical, of random mutation and natural selection, plus the newly-investigated interplay of evolution and individual development. But the result is levels beyond mechanical.

    It includes you, and me. The tiniest bacteria buried in the depth of some rock formation. Our Earth as a whole...

    I'd like to share a moment. I was a child, and went with my parents to the Natural History Museum where a new "diorama" had been just unveiled, portraying a seashore at Besano, now well within the Alps, during mid-Triassic.

    Can you believe? I stood there in awe, looking at the strange creatures, and imagining in that moment their life, the smell of air (so similar to ours?). They -the creatures- were frozen in an imaginary instant, but, with imagination, you could see them entering water and swimming with grace, chasing for fishes. And in the sky (there were no birds, then), some insects and other creatures were flying in the last rays of sunlight.

    The "diorama" exists still today, a thirty years later. It looks a bit worn by time (more Triassic?) But I sometimes still pay a visit to it. Stop in its front, enter the picture, and... spend some breadcrumb of time in mid-Triassic.

    Later on, I discovered many friends of mine had a similar experience. Their "Triassic" is of course not identical to mine. But details apart, all of them, and me alike, and anyone I feel, "may" with a bit of imagination figure an entirely different World, past since hundreds million years, but with "laws of life" right as ours.

    The same sufferings, hopes, moments of happiness, as today.

    Then you reflect rationally, and realize that past time, mid-Triassic, still is quite recent in the whole history of Earth and life. That the two, our planet and Earth, co-exist and co-create since billions years. That the World we live in has been forged by life as much as it has conditioned life history (we have oxygen to a safe 22% level, a surface temperature of the planet averaging to 15° globally and yearly, ... - and all these parameters, so apt to sustain life, are maintained through an immense, yet largely invisible to us, "effort"; forgive me for the awkward detail but, would Earth be plant-less, water evaporation would be much less than "now", with the immediate effect that the part of energy flow which now goes in "latent" heat would transfer to "sensible" heat; as a result, the daily temperature excursion at mid-latitude would rise from the current 10-20 °C to more than 40 °C. This "conditioning" effect is a "by-product" of evapo-transpiration by plants... A "by-product"?! Who we are, to dismiss something as essential to a "by-product"?

    So the more one rationally thinks to life, the more she realizes having not understood. And, that any hope of "understanding", to a level sufficient to control nature as we pretend, is beyond any possibility of the human rational-only mind.

    It's not, however, off range of our "whole" mind. We can't explain, but we can intuitively feel, and sense, it.

    This too, in my view, is a miracle for a tiny being as a human is.