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    illustration of a hare by Albrecht Dürer

    Plough Quarterly No. 39: The Riddle of Nature

    Spring 2024


    Featured Articles

    All Articles


    The Sadness of the Creatures Should humans live by the laws of nature?


    Breakwater In the Channel Islands, a crumbling jetty protects a way of life.


    Meeting the Wolf Should we go back to nature? Saint Anthony and Saint Francis show how to make peace with it instead. Saskatchewan, Promised Land A newcomer to the Canadian prairie searches for the Old Testament promise. The Plants Can Talk The flowers have a language. Are we listening? The Leper of Abercuawg In a thousand-year-old Welsh poem, an outcast seeks comfort in the wild. Dandelions: An Apology Why sweat lawn care when you could have a meadow, green and gold, by working a little less? Back from Walden Pond Is Thoreau, who sought a deliberate life in tune with nature, the prophet for our present ecological crisis? Perhaps, if we learn from his errors. Can Masculinity Be Good? Or is it a problem to be eradicated?

    Personal History

    Why I Hunt In the woods, being a predator connects me to our species’ natural history. Lambing Season I learned some of life’s most important lessons from my father while caring for sheep.


    Reading the Book of Nature Four writers study the divine as revealed in the natural world. Are You a Tree? Or are you a potted plant? In Defense of Chastity Is the church’s teaching on sex unnatural?


    Poem: “Let Them Grow” The poet shares his hopes for his grandsons. Poem: “Squall” Sometimes, being prepared is annoying.

    Editors’ Picks

    Practicing Christianity In Christianity as a Way of Life, Kevin W. Hector says faith is about what we do, not just what we believe. Who Gets to Tell the Story? In R. F. Kuang’s Yellowface a woman sells her dead friend's novel as her own. A Medievalist Looks for the Image of Christ In Jesus through Medieval Eyes, Grace Hamman finds the Lord portrayed as a knight, a mother, a judge, and a lover.

    Family and Friends

    GEDs for Myanmar Migrants Partners Relief & Development is working to establish a new educational program in Thailand. Inside Nyansa Classical Community Nyansa cultivates knowledge and wisdom, merging classics and culture to reach the next generation.

    Bible Reflection

    A Wilderness God In the Holy Land, the desert is a place of hope.

    Community Snapshot

    Watching the Geminids Sky-watchers have a chance to think about time differently.


    Readers Respond Readers respond to Plough’s Winter 2024 issue, Repair.


    Earthworks Urban Farm At a community garden in Detroit, kids grow food to supply a soup kitchen.


    The Wonder of Moths Gorgeous and fragile, moths showcase nature’s richness and vulnerability.


    Saving the Soil, Saving the Farm Regenerative agriculture helps farmers care for the land and pay the bills.


    A World Full of Signs Maximus the Confessor saw the natural world as charged with symbolic meaning.

    Covering the Cover

    Covering the Cover: The Riddle of Nature A vivid watercolor painting of a hare embodies the energy of creation.

    Featured Authors

    cover of Plough Quarterly Issue 39

    About This Issue

    Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have exercised unprecedented dominance over nature, with consequences that are now catching up with us. Many have pointed to Christianity as a culprit. Yet Christianity actually teaches that our relationship to nature should not be one of contempt or disassociation. Rather, according to ancient church tradition, nature is a book to be read, revealing truths about its creator and ours. At a time when many moderns are unsure of what difference, if any, marks us out from other living beings on our planet, and of what our place in the natural world ought to be, what might nature itself tell us about how to live within it?