Hearing the Songs of the Trees, Courtesy of Christie Purifoy

Hearing the Songs of the Trees, Courtesy of Christie Purifoy March 26, 2019

Whether you’re tuning in for the first or for the hundredth time, it’s an honor to host other writes in this place. Christie Purifoy, author of Placemaker (and Roots & Sky before it) is no exception. She’s a writer’s writer, and at least in my mind, also a younger version of one of my favorite authors, Annie Dillard. So, check out this interview with her and leave a comment at the end to win a copy of her new book! 

Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I’m a writer and gardener, a wife and mother of four. I’ve called the city, the suburbs, and the countryside home, but it was the old red brick farmhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania I now call home that finally convinced me creation everywhere is singing a song, and we are invited to join in. I firmly believe that whether we have green thumbs or not, we can pick up the pieces of a dying world, and with God’s help, we can make them new.

Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? Placemaker weaves spiritual memoir with stories of botanical marvels and the histories of the flawed but inspiring placemakers who shaped the lands we now call home. It’s a reminder that the cultivation of beautiful places is not a retreat from the real world but a holy calling. Placemakers are those willing to sink their roots in deep. They love and tend some place, and they understand that places can nourish us in return, if we let them.

Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? I have lived in and loved so many different homes. Each place was as different as the trees that grew there–and I have filled this book with stories of trees from Queen Palms to Saucer Magnolias. But it isn’t easy to love a place and leave it, and I really wondered if all that placemaking had been worth while. Is it worth putting down roots only to pull them up again? That question sent me searching through my own past.

How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? I hope this books gives them ears to hear the songs of the trees. I hope these stories give them eyes to better see our placemaking God. God loves every place where his people dwell, and that means every place has some particular magic.

Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? I live in an old, old house in need of constant restoration. It is often overwhelming. Writing this book convinced me that the work of tending and caring for people and their places is always worthwhile. It is love made visible.

How and where can we find you on the internet? You can find me online at christiepurifoy.com. I especially love to open a virtual door to my home Maplehurst on instagram. And I co-host a weekly podcast called Out of the Ordinary.

Christie, thank you so much for joining us! Friends, if you’d like to win a copy of Placemaker, simply leave a comment for Christie on this post …and don’t forget to head over to my Instagram account later this week for more chances to win! 

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  • Kim Lewis

    Christie’s words are so descriptive, you’ll feel like you are sitting at the table with her, walking through the garden with her, and flipping through her photo album when you read her words. This book is the perfect book for those in your life looking to stay put, those who have been put for a long time, and for those finding themselves in a new place. I will be giving my friends copies!! Love you!

  • Heather Legge

    Christie, long before I read your book, I have associated memories of past places with trees. The magnolia in my early childhood home outside of Philly. The forest behind my house where I lived for most of my childhood and still call home…and now this incredible pear tree that is right outside my window at my fourth floor apartment. I never understood the connection until your words helped me. I am not a gardener, I’m not particularly a nature lover…but creation has a place in our lives no matter what. Thank you always for your warm and encouraging words.

  • I cannot wait to read this book! I heard Christie read a chapter on the podcast a few weeks ago, and I was spellbound.

  • Charlene Cason

    I’ve read your blog, Christie, practically from the beginning, followed your family (& its losses), your house restoration, the snowy weather & gorgeous springs you’ve talked about. I’ve owned 9 houses & wish I would have paid more attention to placemaking in each one! I’m sure I would have had a lot of material myself for a book. But I think I’d rather rather just read yours
    . . .

  • Janna Lynas

    Reading all these short lines and thoughts from this book reminds me of so many things that swirl in my head. Christie seems like a true sister- a kindred. Looking forward to sinking deep into this one!