Cornsilk, One Strand


At the edge of his field, a friend stops his pickup and joins Blake and me. We have just run our dogs and are munching apples brought from home. We offer him one and compliment him on his beautiful stand of corn. We have known him for decades.

We talk for a few minutes before he walks to  the field’s edge and wrenches loose a cob. He strips the husk and twists his hand over the grain, releasing it into his palm.

The season’s nearly over. Only a few roadside stands are still selling sweet corn. In the distance I hear the sound of  harvesters mowing field corn for cattle silage.


“Did you know,” he asks, “that each one of these kernels had its own strand of cornsilk?”

I raise my eyebrows. I hadn’t known.

“Yep. One silk per kernel.” He tosses the grain back into the field. “If a strand doesn’t catch pollen, you end up with a blank spot on the cob.”

This fascinates me. When we reach home, I read more.



Sure enough, while pollen is forming in the tassels at the top of each stalk, individual silk strands are growing through the young ear—an inch or more a day. When that silk emerges from the top of the ear, wind and gravity dust each strand with pollen from the tassels around them. The pollen grain germinates in the silk, grows a pollen tube down the length of the strand, and an ovule is fertilized. Voila!  A kernel of corn is born!

So cool.


Somehow one piece of this really matters to me: the fact that each seed has its own strand. I meditate on that awhile, and begin to see why.

Each strand of silk tells a story. Your story. Mine.

Just like those kernels, each of us begins with a private, individual reaching, with a silk that, by design, stretches upward, looking for completion.

None of us are exempt. Each of us, if we’re honest, must admit to a hunger that begins in childhood. We search to the ends of the earth for pollen that will satisfy us, for pollen designed for the silky conduits to our hearts. That quest drives our choices, our behaviors.

Wrong pollen? Blanks on the cob. No mature kernels.

True Pollen? Completion. Growth. Maturity. Fruitfulness.

All through a single strand.


“He reached down from on high and took hold of me . . .” Psalm 18:16


#cornsilk #cornfields #watchingnatureseeinglife #Godwithus

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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

22 thoughts on “Cornsilk, One Strand

  1. Learned something new today! Your insight is amazing! Am so glad “He reached down…and took hold of me…” Eternally grateful!


  2. Cheryl I am so thankful for your curiosity, I never knew all that about corn and I love the application. God bless you today,and every day.


  3. Blake shared this with Roger as they were helping a cow in the middle of the night. We didn’t know either! Thanks for your curiosity and writing! We enjoy it!


  4. Cheryl dear…ever so interesting!! Who knew! Isnt this just like Our Almighty God!!! Such a joy to be back reading your incredible stories! Grateful YOU listened to The Father as to what was on His agenda for you!!! I’m BLESSED!!


  5. Thanks Cheryl, always knew many years ago being neighbors that you were special. Your gift from the Lord you share just proves it. ❤️


    1. Ha! I always felt that way about you, Char. You gave me so many heart gifts. So thankful He brought us together.


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