Sweet CornPerhaps as our teachers sometimes tell us, there is no such thing as a bad question. That doesn’t mean that some questions aren’t better than others.

It was some years ago driving past a field of corn in the vigor of its early maturity. Who knows at what depth within the boy the note of wonder was struck. Sometimes innocent and unclouded eyes penetrate reality, reaching what is behind the visible. Sensing the unseen in the seen, the boy probed into the pregnant darkness.

“Daddy, where does corn come from?” His father did not yet discern that deep waters were churning. Nonetheless the answer he shot back was both reasonable and true: “It comes from seeds.”

Seeds. The very word sings of mystery, if we have ears to hear: a mystery that reaches to the heart of life. The boy’s ears must have caught a whisper from somewhere. Could it be because his own flesh is sprung from a seed?

“But Daddy, where do seeds come from?”

The question emerged like a rumble from the depths. Indeed, where do the seeds come from?

They come from somewhere. According to some primordial and unchanging order, they come. To us.

One thing ought to be apparent: seeds of every kind are a gift. A gift to be received, and to be treasured. And to be sown, in due season. In love.

How to convey this to a boy? How to live this as a man?

Thank you, son, for asking this question. I will always treasure it. And it is ours to find an answer together.

Originally posted at Bacon from Acorns

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John A. Cuddeback is a professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, where he has taught since 1995. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America under the direction of F. Russell Hittinger. He has lectured on various topics including virtue, culture, natural law, friendship, and household. His book Friendship: The Art of Happiness was republished in 2010 as True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness. His writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera, The Thomist, and The Review of Metaphysics, as well as in several volumes published by the American Maritain Association. Though raised in what he calls an ‘archetypical suburb,’ Columbia, Maryland, he and his wife Sofia consider themselves blessed to be raising their six children in the shadow of the Blue Ridge on the banks of the Shenandoah. At the material center of their homesteading projects are heritage breed pigs, which like the pigs of Eumaeus are fattened on acorns, yielding a bacon that too few people ever enjoy. His website dedicated to the philosophy of family and household is baconfromacorns.com.