Thinning out my corn seedlings today I was struck by the fact that is:
Is made of the exact same stuff as this:
Plants may grow out of the soil, but when you’re holding a whole big mass of them, the weight in your hand came from nothing more than water, air, and light. The same stuff as rainbows.
I remember the first time I learned about that in high school biology. A guy in Europe weighted a pot full of dry soil, then planted a seed in it, watering only with distilled water. Over several years the seed grew into a large tree, which he finally uprooted, carefully rinsing off all the soil from the roots. After it had dried, he reweighed the soil, and found its mass almost identical to what it had been before he planted the tree. That very real, very solid, tree, made of nothing but water, air and sunlight.