Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust
I grew up on books. My childhood home was full of them. My mother was a librarian, and both of my parents loved to read. I had a library card by the time I turned three. We made weekly trips to the library and frequent trips to the used bookstore. Mom raised me to believe that decorating involves having enough bookshelves to house your collection of books.
Not surprisingly, my mother loved to give Jimmy and Molly books. Miss Rumphius, one of our favorites, is the story of a little girl who tells her grandfather that she wants to travel to faraway places and live by the sea when she grows up, just like he did. Her grandfather replies, “That is all very well, little Alice, but there is a third thing you must do .. you must do something to make the world more beautiful.”
After Miss Rumphius grows up and travels to faraway places, she returns to live by the sea and plants a small flower garden. She walks the hills above the ocean and thinks about how she could make the world a more beautiful place. She realizes how beautiful the world is already and struggles to figure out how she can make it more so. After becoming housebound for almost year, she’s able to venture out the following spring and discovers that the seeds from the lupine she planted in her garden have been spread by the wind, and lupines now cover a large area of one of the hills. She rushes home, orders five bushels of lupine seeds and begins spreading the seeds everywhere on her daily walks, eventually becoming known as The Lupine Lady.
Reading this story never fails to make me cry. There’s something so moving about its simple message. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about what gives a life meaning and the way, if we are lucky enough to figure out how we can make the world more beautiful, this enriches our lives.
Today, I started thinking about all the people who bring joy to my life because of the way they are living theirs. Not just my family and dearest friends who hold me close and keep me upright on the darkest days, but all the wonderful people I have and continue to rely on in varied and important ways. From the doctor I see once a year who never fails to say Jimmy’s name and ask how I am; to every teacher and counselor who has believed in, loved and inspired my children; to Dawn, dog trainer extraordinaire, who took a small, scared, neurotic little black dog (that we didn’t have the time, energy or know-how to train) and turned him into an irreplaceable member of our family. My Kaia sisters, my tribe of writers, my fellow Rotarians, my Salt Water community. Men and women who inspire me, teach me, encourage me, lift my spirits, make me laugh and enrich my life. I see you, and I am so very grateful for the ways you make my soul blossom and make my life more beautiful.
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