I know the earth’s seamless blue atmosphere on a cloudless day.
I know the salt taste of its seas, and the song of tree frogs in spring.
But who can know the secrets earth hides beyond the senses,
cached deep in the rocks and high in the mountains,
spread in the coral reefs and river beds,
encrypted in the twenty thousand genes that make us human beings?
There are those who probe the earth;
who bore into glaciers;
who live with lions, whales and bees;
who gather terabytes of data,
patiently count the evidence,
test and test again,
and at last define
—one small piece at a time—
what the earth is: