Friday, February 13, 2009
Spreading Crazy Beauty
Alice Rumphius entered the world scene in 1982, through the creativity of author, Barbara Cooney. In this story for children of all ages, we're told that, as a child, Miss Rumphius listens to her seafaring grandfather’s tales. She decides that she, too, will travel the world and, when she's old, will live next to the sea. Her grandfather reminds her that as a human being, she would do well to include in her list of life-goals helping to make the world more beautiful.
Miss Rumphius chooses not to marry or have children, nor does she cook, sew, or worry about how she looks. Instead she travels widely, taking in the experience of diverse cultures and environments. Eventually, she settles down to live next to the sea. She discovers that her final goal in life, making the world more beautiful, is harder to achieve than she'd anticipated. By accident, she notices that lupines which she has planted scatter their seeds and they beautify her neighborhood. She realizes that spreading lupine flowers might be the perfect way by which she can spread more beauty wherever she goes around world.
I was introduced to Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, only yesterday through an article in our local North Bay Bohemian newspaper, entitled Crazy Beauty, and written by Juliane Poirier Locke. After beginning to spread her lupine seeds around, Alice earns the name of "Crazy Lady". But after awhile, when lupines begin sprouting all over the neighborhood and beyond, she earns new respect and admiration and is thereafter tagged as the "Lupine Lady".
There are so many folks who wander the planet doing what are familiarly known as "random acts of kindness". We've all met some of them, perhaps have even engaged in such actions ourselves. One of my favorites is occasionally paying the toll fee for the car in line behind me. The unexpectedness and amazement of it for the recipient is cause for sheer delight. Crazy?? Absolutely, and, at the same time, crazily beautiful!
Ms. Locke concludes her article: "Miss Rumphius the Lupine Lady is a role model for our era. Perhaps sometime this week,...we can make some unique effort to make the world more beautiful. I know it's a crazy idea, but think of all the fun we could cause."