Eternal Air

Reading Bill Bryson's The Body: A Guide for Occupants is like microdosing on partial wonder. There are countless passages where I sit in awe at the complexity of our own flesh & blood. Here's a particular passage that struck me today:

In breathing, as in everything in life, the numbers are staggering — indeed fantastical. Every time you breathe, you exhale some 25 sextillion molecules of oxygen — so many that with a day's breathing you will in all likelihood inhale at least one molecule from the breaths of every person who has ever lived. And every person who lives from now until the sun burns out will from time to time breathe in a bit of you. At the atomic level, we are in a sense eternal.

I might have heard such a fact before, but the conclusion that Bryson draws — that we are almost eternal in an atomic level — is staggering.

Perhaps most of this wonder comes from an ignorance of the human anatomy prior to opening this book. Maybe that's where wonder lives — in between ignorance and complete knowledge. Who knows...