Pond scum is beautiful and elegant. At least scientists who study the microbes of pond scum think it is. What is magical about these microbes is that they are alive. Even though scientists can describe most of what such microbes do, and can explain them in terms of the laws of chemistry and physics, we should all marvel that anything that originates in the water of muddy ponds can be so intricate, so complex, so alive. Infinitely more astonishing and marvelous is the evidence that human intelligence, creativity, and spirituality came from such primitive existence.
The specialness of life is magnified by the very real possibility that it only exists on this one obscure planet in a vast universe of billions upon billions of galaxies. There are no signs of it anywhere else in the universe. Despite decades of searching for extracellular life with radio astronomy and rocket-launched probes, no one has found any.
—W. R. Klemm