William Shakespeare

The gift of life, November 2016

"As if you could kill time without injuring eternity." — Henry David Thoreau

We Americans are very good at killing time. So many of us treat time carelessly, as if there would be no end to it, and in so doing we fail to appreciate the incredible unlikelihood of our own existence.

If astronomers and physicists are correct, then nearly every atom in our bodies was once at the center of an ancient star. The early universe, apparently, was composed almost entirely of lighter elements (hydrogen, helium) and particles. The heavier elements, such as iron and oxygen, had to be fused by the incredibly high temperatures and pressures within the cores of stars. When...