There are (very roughly) seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains of sand on the earth. The most common constituent of sand is silica, the secondis aragonite, which has been created, over the past half billion years, from the crushed remains of various forms of life, like coral and shellfish. Pick up some grains, put them under a microscope and whole worlds appear. In certain strands of Zen Buddhism, sages train themselves to be content to stare for many hours at only a few grains, a symbol of their capacity to pay due attention to the neglected wonders of existence. We too should be content to look closely at grains in a spirit of modesty and humility – and acknowledge that we are, from a sufficient perspective, nothing more substantial than such grains and yet no less interesting or complex for that.