by Lani Tunzi
Among all the flowers of spring, the sky lupine, a California native, is near and dear to my heart. And I know I am not the only person in Eagle Rock with a special fondness for the lupine, with its bursts of blue, pink and purple, its height (as tall as two feet), colorful tapering petals and large hand-shaped leaves.
To explain: Five years ago, when I was a fifth grader at Dahlia Heights Elementary, my class read the book, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. Miss Rumphius is the story of a girl with a dream instilled by her grandfather: to travel to far-away places; live by the sea; and most important, make the world more beautiful. In due time, she travels, settles by the sea and plants a garden of lupines. Then she falls ill and from her sickbed, is just able to see the flowers she has planted. She wishes to plant more of them, but is unable.
When she gets better however, she delightedly discovers that the wind has carried the seeds from her garden, spreading lupines to the hill beside her house. The following summer, Miss Rumphius, pockets full of seeds, wanders the countryside and highways, sowing lupines and earning the name “The Lupine Lady.” More and more lupines sprout with each following year — and Miss Rumphius accomplishes her third and most difficult task of beautifying the world.
The schoolchildren of Dahlia Heights decided to adopt Miss Rumphius’ goal as their own. All year we prepared; studying lupines, ordering seeds and planning our routes, until setting out one day and scattering seeds of lupines and California poppies from Dahlia Heights to Eagle Rock Park. To this day, students, teachers and parents make similar excursions.
Just like in the story, the Eagle Rock lupines seem to be growing in number with each passing spring, most prominently along the streets from Colorado Blvd. to Hill Dr. In addition to their beauty, they are a reminder to those now older Dahlia students of the teachers who instilled in us the same dream that guided Miss Rumphius: to make the world more beautiful.
Lani Tunzi is in the 10th grade at Eagle Rock High School