Written by our first guest blogger: Andrea Garfinkel-Castro
When my children were little we used to read Miss Rumphius by Barbara Clooney. It is a short story about a little girl named Alice Rumphius who wants to do the things her grandfather has done—to travel the world and, afterwards, to live by the sea. She tells him this and he, in turn, tells her there is a third thing she must do. ““What is that?” asked Alice. “You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” said her grandfather.”
I have quoted Alice and her grandfather many times, and, as you can see, I continue to find inspiration in their words. My hope is that everyone become inspired to do something make the world more beautiful—even if you don’t yet know what that ‘something;’ might be. You see, Alice also didn’t know how she could make the world more beautiful for a long time, even though she carried within her the desire to do so.
Alice, Miss Rumphius, came upon her way to make the world more beautiful quite by accident and through personal adversity. The story takes us through some of Alice’s adventures around the world to exotic places and to the place by the sea where she finally settles in her old age, just as she had hoped. One year, with her hope to make the world a better place still unfulfilled, Alice becomes bed-bound. Looking out from her bedroom window she sees the beautiful blossoms of the lupine she had planted earlier and laments that she is too ill to plant more. The next spring, now able to walk about, she is delighted to come across lupines that had been sown by the wind—and she discovers how she can make the world ‘more beautiful’ and begins to sow lupine seeds wherever she walks.