The other morning, I opened the blind just as the rising sun was turning everything golden…and just as a double rainbow appeared over Harlem. It lasted only a few minutes and then slowly faded as though in a dream. There’s a miracle, I thought, not only the extraordinary rainbow but that, still half-asleep, I looked out the window at just the right moment to see it. And that got me thinking about the word “miracle” and another citing of miracles by a 6 year old I know.
As we went around the Thanksgiving table saying what we were thankful for, Lila summed up hers in one dazzling line:
I’m thankful for all the miracles it took to make this Thanksgiving happen.
All gathered around that table knew what she meant and more (and wondered how a six-year-old knew about miracles). Thanksgiving dinner had been touch-and-go for days because the hosts and their girls were sick, but then they recovered, and somehow all the food was bought and prepared in the midst of taking care of two really smart, energetic kids, and the house cleaned and the table thoughtfully set…And all the guest’s health held as well, and all the things they were bringing —pies, cranberry sauce, a roasted bird ready to carve — came together… Miraculously, there we were, sitting at that beautiful peaceful table together.
As I thought about it, so much seems to be a sort of miracle, which the OED says comes from Latin miraculum ‘object of wonder’, from mirari ‘to wonder’, from mirus ‘wonderful’…
Here is the latest that arrived as a complete surprise when I cut into a Mountain Rose apple I ‘d bought to try, thinking the “Rose” in its name had to do with the faint blush on its yellow skin. The rose was inside:
Objects of wonder in a simple life…
Walt Whitman made a mighty list of every day miracles:
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the
ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?