Acres of Lupines

Whenever Papa Larry tells of the lavender farm he and Nanny visited up in Maine, I stop to listen, because I can almost smell the sweetness of flowers and sea. And then he’ll reminisce to when they met the Lupine Lady herself— Mrs. Barabara Cooney, who wrote the book Miss Rumphius.

This past Christmas, Joel bought me three picture books from my childhood — books we loved so well that the covers came off — and Miss Rumphius was among them. It sits on my lowest bookshelf for the nieces and nephews to fetch whenever they like (which, happily, is often).

I was pleasantly surprised to find a picture of the authoress on the back flap of the book. Her bio reads:

Like Miss Rumphius, Barabara Cooney made the world more beautiful.

In the picture, she is standing at the helm of a sailboat, blue waters behind her, silver hair coiled in a braid around her head, holding a tin coffee cup and looking pleased. I would like to meet her, but I think Miss Rumphius may be an autobiography, and I think Mrs. Cooney might tell me what the Lupine Lady tells her granddaughter, that, “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

Miss Rumphius fulfilled her own calling by stuffing her pockets with lupine seeds and tossing them over fields and headlands and roadsides. “The next spring,” the book says, “there were lupines everywhere.”

“Fields and hills were covered with the blue and purple and rose-colored flowers. They bloomed along the highways and down the lanes. Bright patches lay around the schoolhouse and back of the church. Down in the hollows and along the stone walls grew the beautiful flowers.”

~ Barbara Cooney, Miss Rumphius

And I think about how Jesus’s kingdom begins as a seed in someone’s pocket, tossed generously over the rocks and briar patches and good ground. I think about the burnt, howling landscape of Isaiah’s prophecy, and how, when the Messiah comes, he leaves a sea of green in his wake.

And I think about the stretch of earth God has given me. It isn’t Maine by the sea, but I do have three little lupines sprouting in the greenhouse out back. I may not sow acres of lavender or lupines, but Jesus said that even one seed, planted well, can become a harvest that doesn’t just make this world more beautiful, but tells of an even lovelier one.

The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.” ~ Matthew 13:31

5 thoughts on “Acres of Lupines

  1. I love Miss Rumphius and still have the well worn copy of the book that my girls enjoyed. Now my grandkids love it, too! We have huge fields of wild lupine throughout Alaska every summer, and now I will think of you when I see them this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bethany, this post is so lovely!! It stirs up this beautiful longing in me to do my part to bring the beauty of the kingdom to others’ lives and reminds me that whenever I sow that kingdom seed, its effects bring beauty both now and forever. Thank you so much!


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