Heart Gardening by Cheryl Grey Bostrom

by | May 16, 2024 | The Love Offering Guest Blog Series

I’m raking garden soil on a May morning when a memory from years ago arrives unbidden: 


My husband and I have climbed from our pickup to watch a red combine cross a cornfield between steep Palouse hills, a swath of stubble in its wake. When he spots us, a farmer friend slows the mighty machine, climbs from the cab, and waves. We wade to him through nine-foot stalks to talk moisture readings and earthworms, crop size and his newborn baby boy. He wrenches a fat cob from a standing stalk, strips the husk, and rubs dried kernels of seed corn into his palm. 


“Did you know,” he asks, “that every kernel begins with its own strand of corn silk?” 


I raise my brow. I didn’t know. 


“True,” he says. “One silk per seed.” He pitches the handful of grain into the dirt. “Where a strand doesn’t catch pollen, no kernel grows. You get a blank on the cob where a seed should be.” 


Fascinated, I read more on corn pollination when we get home, and, sure enough, learn that every corn ovule on an infant cob sends out a strand of silk that grows an inch or more a day. When those strands emerge at the top of the developing ear, wind, insects, and gravity dust the silk’s tip with pollen from the waiting tassel. 


A pollen grain then germinates in each strand of silk, quickly grows a pollen tube down the length of the strand, and fertilizes the ovule—which becomes a single kernel of corn. Successful pollination of each strand can produce an entire community of kernels—anywhere from 500 to 1200—aligned in rows we recognize as corn on the cob. 


Add butter, salt, and ground pepper . . . My mouth waters just thinking about it. 


Back then, the amazing lesson was new to me. In the decades since, the concept returns every time I rake the ground, plant seeds, or hear of new birth. I share corn’s story now in hopes that the wonder fuels you with a fresh visual of our miraculous union with Christ himself.


Picture this?


How the silk of innate human yearning meets the Holy Spirit’s pollen, which races that strand of connection to our souls’ kernels, infusing us with purpose and meaning, indwelling us with perfect Love.


How, like that fertilized ovule, our completed selves can then grow and mature as fruitful participants in a nourishing family. I imagine us tight together, without blanks in the cobs of our communities or our hearts.  


The lesson’s stirring in me. I’m on my knees in the dirt now, punching kernels into tilthy earth, praying for a growing season like no other. Asking for holy pollen to race through heart tubes everywhere. 


Yours. Mine. And I’m thinking about how, through his creation, God speaks. 


“He reached down from on high and took hold of me,” the Psalmist writes. (Ps 18:16, NIV). 


“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV) 


Yeah. Like that. 


About the Author:

Cheryl Grey Bostrom, MA, writes surprising prose that reflects her keen interest in nature and human behavior. Her work has appeared in many publications, including her column in the American Scientific Affiliation’s God and Nature Magazine. She has also written four books, including her best-selling novel Sugar Birds—the winner of more than a dozen fiction awards—and Leaning on Air, called “a reader’s dream,” and a “layered, cross-generational masterpiece” by early reviewers. An avid photographer, she and her veterinarian husband live in the Pacific Northwest with a small pack of irrepressible Gordon setters. Learn more at CherylBostrom.com.


Connect with Cheryl:

FB (feed): Cheryl Grey Bostrom – https://www.facebook.com/cgbostrom/

FB (page): Author Cheryl Grey Bostrom –  https://www.facebook.com/cherylgreybostrom/

IG: @cherylgreybostrom – https://www.instagram.com/cherylgreybostrom/

Substack: cherylgreybostrom.substack.com




I’m Rachael Adams

I’m an author, speaker, and host of The Love Offering Podcast. My mission is to help women find significance and purpose throught Christ.

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