What does it mean to be a placemaker – what is learned, what is lost, what is gained in the making of any place. Today we consider the nature of the actions and meaning of placemaking with mother, gardener, and spiritual memoirist Christie Purifoy.
Gardening is for me and many fellow gardeners about forging a meaningful relationship with the place with which/whom and on which/whom we make our own lives- for Christie Purifoy this expands out into a greater notion of a calling she refers to as Placemaking, from which she derives the title of her second book.
Christie lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, her four children, many trees and beloved garden. She is the author of several books about her relationships with her places including Roots and Sky, and her newest: Placemaker - cultivating places of comfort, beauty, and peace. Christie is also the co-host of a podcast entitled Out of The Ordinary.
Christie joins us today from her home garden - Maplehurst - to share more about her own sense of place, and her community building and peacemaking practices.
"Placemaking gives you eyes to see old familiar things in new ways."
Christie Purifoy, Placemaker
For Christie her gardening journey and her Christian spiritual journey interweave with one another meaningfully throughout her life. As a result, her daily gardening, writing, and family life grapple with some fundamental questions about what it means to be human and in deeply rooted relationship with a place and with faith. She takes on some hard questions – like how in making a place for ourselves we are inevitably unmaking some or all of the place that was there before.
You can follow along with Christie's work on Instagram at: christiepurifoy/ and at Maplehurstgardens/
THINKING OUT LOUD this week..
So many of these questions – the glorifying and heartbreaking around Cultivating Place come back to a faith of some kind. A leaning into the universal life and energy and integrity and intention bigger than us, deeper and longer than we can see and comprehend.
A single tree illustrates this daily to its environment. It has a different time scale, a different by whole scales of magnitude, different than ours. I don’t know a nature loving gardener that does not respond to the trees of their place as seasonal sentinels, as unspoken representatives of home, and as divine bridges and intermediaries.
Throughout her book Placemaker, Christie acknowledges her own reverence for trees and their symbolic power in the realm of her own Christian tradition. I wanted to share two quotes that embody this:
She writes: “Trees are the backbone of everything - trees are not the ministry of the church and yet trees spread their roots throughout the stories the Bible tells…” a few pages later, she cites a pastor friend of hers Adele Calhoun as expressing it this way: “Trees carry theology in their veins”.
There’s something about that poetic encompassing of the great presence of the trees (and energetic nature of life) all around us - in our midst.
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This is a great way for the show to reach new ears in our community building and paradigm shifting working to elevate the value and impact of gardening and other Cultivations of Place. It’s powerful stuff and we want to share it with everyone!
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