Wonder, Bread

Seeing beauty in things we consider beautiful is easy. Enjoying a sunset, relishing the mountain-top view, soaking in the calm ocean, finding peace in a still river, dancing in the rain…the list goes on! The problem is that there aren’t enough of these moments as we get too occupied with our jobs, daily chores. Seeking to find the beauty at every moment and every circumstance in life is one of the many keys to true happiness.

Often we fail to get amazed at the beauty of our existence, how we arrived at this moment in time. Whether it was a God (or gods) that brought us here, or an inestimable accumulation of evolutionary accidents, both are equally humbling and wondrous if we think about them. Both make ordinary situations just as beautiful as epic ones.

Came across this lovely poem by the economist Russ Roberts called “Wonder, Bread”. Below are a few lines…

If you look down upon a city with the widest bird’s eye view
You might wonder how it functions, who takes care of me and you?

Who makes sure there’s food for vegans, and for carnivores as well
It seems like there’s a wizard who has cast a magic spell

Just think of one small part—who makes sure there’s so much bread?
You want rye, she wants ciabatta, or make it sourdough instead

A baguette or a croissant, it doesn’t matter, don’t you see?
You get yours and she get hers, and I get mine, how can that be?

One’s buying a dozen bagels to grace an impromptu brunch
One’s using food stamps for a simple loaf to make her children lunch

No matter the amount we require, no matter the choices we make
An army of workers has mobilized to fashion the bread we partake 

The farmer who grows the wheat, the miller that grinds the flour
The baker and all of the others who work hour after hour

They’re all on their own, each one making independent decisions
But somehow their plans fit together with the highest degree of precision 

So there must be a czar of wheat and flour, of trucks and of bread and yeast
To allocate and oversee and plan at the very least 

For the unexpected change, what if today’s not like yesterday
It never is, though, is it? So who keeps chaos away?

Because there’s order all around us. Things look as if they’re planned
Like the supply of bread in a city–enough to match up with demand

And though flour is used for more than just bread, we never have to fight
Over where it goes and who gets what. So why do we sleep so well at night

Knowing nobody’s in charge, it looks like all is left to chance
Yet in New York, or London as well as Paris France

No one’s worried the shelves will be empty, we take supply for granted
But it’s a marvel, it’s a miracle, the world’s somehow enchanted


You can check out the whole poem here

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