Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row, someone bless these seeds I sow.
Someone warm them from below
‘Til the rain comes tumbling down.

Pullin’ weeds and pickin’ stones,
We are made of dreams and bones.
I feel the need to grow my own ’cause the time is close at hand.
Grain for grain, sun and rain, I’ll find my way in nature’s chain.
Tune my body and my brain to the music of the land.

Plant your rows straight and long,
Temper them with prayer and song
And mother earth will keep you strong if you give her love and care.
An old crow watchin’ hungrily from his perch in yonder tree,
In my garden I’m as free as that feathered thief up there.

(songwriter: David B. Mallett. Copyright: Cherry Lane Music Pubg. Co. Inc.)

Here I am, with my grandson Jaxon.

Here I am, with my grandson Jaxon.

This song, made popular by the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary, always leaves a lump in my throat. The concept of nurturing a living, breathing garden from seed to harvest pulls together themes in my life that I hold most dear.

I began my career 30 years ago as an editor of a popular-level religious magazine (Moody Monthly, published by Moody Bible Institute), fresh out of college armed with two journalism degrees (Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University) and high ideals. In time, I became a science writer as well, joining the National Association of Science Writers in 1989.  For the largest chunk of my professional life — fifteen years — I worked at the University of Notre Dame, publicizing the research of the faculty to the outside world.

Several years ago I began my freelance career in order to spend more time with my four children at home. Now they are all grown, but I’ve come to appreciate the rhythm of writing from my home.

People often raise eyebrows at the mention of my two seemingly disparate interests:  faith and science.  And indeed I often feel a bit out of place  with either set of colleagues, whether religion writers or science writers.  But over time I’ve come to understand what draws me to both interests, a very deep reverence — yes, awe — for the astonishing intricacies and nuances revealed in nature (i.e., creation).  As a person of faith, I can’t help but want to know more, because, for me, knowing more about creation informs me of the creator.  Who can know the mind of God?  Certainly, not I, a mere mortal.  But I love the hints he leaves lying about, waiting for us to stumble upon.

I’m the granddaughter of farmers.  Both of my parents grew up on farms, and we were never without a sizable backyard garden when I was growing up in Rockford, Ill.  But fate never allowed me a garden of my own until now.  Read my blog as I learn and explore everything garden this year.  It should be quite an adventure.

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