What are you thinking?" he asks.
I know Gage hates it when I cry - he is completely undone by the sight of tears - so I blink hard against the sting. "I'm thinking how thankful I am for everything," I say, "even the bad stuff. Every sleepless night, every second of being lonely, every time the car broke down, every wad of gum on my shoe, every late bill and losing lottery ticket and bruise and broken dish and piece of burnt toast."
His voice is soft. "Why, darlin'?"
"Because it all led me here to you.
Mom always liked to say that we hardly ever know the decisions we make that change our lives, mostly because they are little ones. You took this bus instead of that one and ended up meeting your soul mate, that kind of thing. But there was no doubt in my mind that this was one of those life-changing moments.
The scientist does not study nature because it is useful to do so. He studies it because he takes pleasure in it, and he takes pleasure in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful it would not be worth knowing, and life would not be worth living. I am not speaking, of course, of the beauty which strikes the senses, of the beauty of qualities and appearances. I am far from despising this, but it has nothing to do with science. What I mean is that more intimate beauty which comes from the harmonious order of its parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp.